Gryffin Sanders may not have a driver’s license or even be able to reach the pedals but thanks to his love for Mario Kart, he was able to take the wheel of his great-grandmother’s car when she passed out while driving along a Colorado highway.
The 10-year-old boy took control of the Buick sedan that was careening at 60 mph when his 74-year-old great-grandmother -- who he calls ‘grandma great’ -- lost consciousness.
"My first thought was actually, is this a test or what?" Sanders told 9News about the July 26 incident. "My heart was thumping."
Sanders grabbed the wheel of the car and led it into a ditch. His 4-year-old brother, who was playing games on his iPad in the back seat, remained oblivious to the action.
“I could see over the dashboard while I was driving, so I had an idea of where I was driving into. I couldn’t get to the brakes because my grandma great was in the way,” Sanders told the Associated Press.
Sanders led the car into a muddy ditch where his great-grandmother’s foot eventually left the gas pedal bringing the car to a stop. He credits his love for the Mario Kart video game and experience driving go-karts and ATVS for bringing the car to safety.
A passerby spotted the vehicle and called 911. The boys’ father, Sean Sanders, said they escaped a possible collision or a roll-over. “There could've been, you know, a travesty of an injury or even possibly a fatality," he said. "The good news is we will never have to know."
Darlene Nestor, the boys’ great-grandmother, was air lifted to a Colorado Springs hospital where doctors say she might have had a mild heart attack. In an odd twist, one of the first responders on the scene was Sanders’ cousin who is a sheriff deputy.
“I’m so proud of him that he saved so many lives that day even in oncoming traffic,” Nestor said, bragging out her great-grandchild. “He’s always been a great kid.”