Boy, 8, Steers Car Out of Danger, Saves Lives
Eight-year-old Nicholas Prokos became a true hero last week when he reached into the front seat of the car his mother was driving and prevented a direct collision with oncoming traffic on a major highway in Port Charlotte, Fla.
His mother, Sarah Prokos, 34, had just picked up Nicholas from his summer reading program and was driving north on Kings Highway Thursday afternoon when she suffered a seizure that rendered her unconscious.
As the car drifted across the median and into the southbound lanes, Nicholas tried to wake Prokos, but he could not rouse her. So the brave little boy unbuckled himself, reached into the front seat and steered the vehicle away from oncoming traffic into a guardrail.
After striking the guardrail, Prokos' car was hit by a truck, which then overturned, and a refrigerator that was on the truck flew out and struck another vehicle. Thankfully, the parties in the other vehicles suffered only minor injuries.
Prokos tells ParentDish the last thing she remembers before the accident is getting onto the main thoroughfare; the next thing she recalls is waking up to hear Nicholas yelling for help after the accident.
"I remember waking up to my little boy's voice, screaming, 'Somebody save my mommy'," she recalls tearfully. "EMS had just pulled up, and they were in the process of getting me out of the car."
Prokos suffered two broken legs, fractured feet, a concussion, whiplash and cuts and contusions, but says she is hoping to be released from the hospital today. Without Nicholas' brave actions, however, the two would certainly have sustained far worse injuries.
"I can tell you that the emergency responders were extremely impressed with this young man's courage and what he did," Dee Hawkins, a Charlotte County Fire and EMS spokesperson tells ParentDish. "We're very fortunate that he didn't get injured when he unbuckled from his booster seat, but he really did save the life of his mom, himself and others by his quick thinking."
Nicholas was taken to the hospital after the accident for evaluation, but was released the same day, miraculously unscathed.
Prokos thinks her story provides a powerful message for other parents. A week earlier, she had experienced a seizure for the first time at her home, which her children had witnessed. Though she didn't yet have a diagnosis, Prokos made a point of speaking to Nicholas and his 14- and 17-year-old sisters about what had happened, and instructed them on what they should do in the event a seizure reoccurred. One of the scenarios they discussed was what to do if they were in the car at the time, and she recalls gratefully that Nicholas executed their instructions perfectly.
She urges parents to speak openly with their kids, prepare them for emergencies and teach them how to remain calm in the face of danger.
"My son saved my life, and he wouldn't have been able to do that if I had not been upfront and honest with him," she explains. "Children need to understand the reality of things, and should know that if a situation should occur, they need to be prepared to do a, b and c."
Prokos says Nicholas is a very special boy, and we couldn't agree more.
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.