70-year-old diabetic driver suddenly collapses, leaving 10-year-old boy in car alone, as police begin pursuit

September 9, 2017 11:48 am Last Updated: September 9, 2017 11:48 am

Anyone is capable of saving a life and leaving a positive mark regardless of his or her age, race, or social status. A 10-year-old boy from Montgomery, Alabama displayed the highest level of bravery I have ever seen. The third grader who goes by the name Christopher Wheeler found himself in a terrifying situation after the 70-year old neighbor he was riding with suffered a diabetic attack while driving. You would expect a boy in such a situation to freak out and probably start screaming, but this was not the case for Christopher. The way he handled the situation left everyone including the patrol officers amazed.


It was Thursday 24 March 2016 and Wheeler decided to join Alfred Smith, his neighbor to a local scrap yard. While they were driving on Interstate 65, Mr. Smith started having a diabetic episode and began to fall in and out of consciousness.

Then he completely lost control of their truck and began swerving violently across the three lanes of traffic.

Alfred’s condition was getting worse, and it was evident he was sick. Christopher said the driver was sweating profusely, and, knowing he was diabetic, he quickly sought for a piece of candy.

It was at this time that  Eric Salvador, a Special Agent with the Attorney General, spotted the Smith’s truck moving back and forth across the lanes.

“It almost hit the center wall several times,” Salvador said.

The special agent tried to signal the driver to pull over using lights and sirens, but his efforts yielded no results.

Smith had loaded the truck’s bed with materials, so it was impossible to count the number of people inside. The truck was still on the road and at one point ran a red light in front of Walmart.

Salvador decided to request for back up, and Trooper Lee Walls joined the pursuit shortly after the 911 call.

The truck had now gotten off at Exit 811 and began drifting into the oncoming traffic.

Smith, still in and out of consciousness and unable to drive, could no longer steer. It was then that Christopher decided to take control of the vehicle and ended the 10 miles chase.

“I put my foot on the brake, got the steering wheel, and pulled it over,” Christopher told the police afterward.

He also added that he had asked Alfred to stop, following the pursuit by police, but the driver never responded to his pleas. The special agent approached the vehicle and found a terrified boy and the lethargic driver. He asked Smith to turn off the engine, but he never responded. This brought Christopher to action.

Salvador watched the young man turn off the engine and place Smith’s hands on the steering wheel before stepping out of the truck.

Salvador had spent his earlier days as a state trooper, so it did not take him long to recognize he was dealing with a medical emergency. Senior Trooper Lee Walls learned that Smith had diabetes and sought a cookie from his car and gave it to him.

The paramedics arrived shortly and took Smith to the hospital. The trooper then notified Christopher’s relatives and waited for them to pick him up. In the viral Facebook post by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, Walls states that Christopher displayed a high level of maturity that was not common among children of his age.

The truck would have caused many fatalities were it not for the young man’s action, police said.

Walls rewarded Christopher with a meal from a fast food joint near the scene as they waited for his parents to arrive. In his conversation with the officer, the young hero stated that he liked to work and help people. He went ahead and expressed his interests in pursuing a career in the law enforcement sector since it provided a chance to help people.

People fall sick on the road while driving leading to serious accidents but it was a different case for Smith. Christopher saved his life and that of many people using the route.  Christopher might have been in a difficult situation, but such bravery among 10-year-old kids is rare. I just wish him well in his journey to being one of the best Alabama’s law enforcement officers.

Alabama Law Enforcement Agency