A New Jersey father had to make an easy choice, his son or his car. Frank Roder, a construction worker from Winfield Park, had taken his 5-year-old son, Aiden, down to a nearby river to feed the ducks on Thursday. Frank stopped briefly to decide on a parking space, slowing his 2006 Jeep Commander to a halt. Aiden jumped out of the car andstarted running, heading straight for a ledge 35 feet above the river.
“He hopped out, and I thought that was OK, I was just going to park,” Roder, 38, said, but “he just took off, made a beeline for the edge.”
Frank jumped out of his Jeep and ran after his son. He managed to grab him a few feet from the edge, possibly saving his life. Aiden, frightened but unharmed, looked past his father and said, “Um, Daddy…”
Roder turned in time to see the Jeep nosedive down the embankment and land in the muddy water.
Frank held his son over the next few hours. He waited for the police to pull his Jeep out of the muddy water. He was grateful no one was hurt, especially as he had almost decided to bring his six-week-old son Joel who would have been in a car seat.
Frank was then handed two tickets, one for failure to produce his insurance card (it was in the flooded and muddy vehicle somewhere) and another for failing to use his emergency brake.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Roder said. “He said, ‘If you would have taken the five seconds to apply the brake, this never would have happened!’
“I say, ‘Really? And if I did and my boy stepped over the edge and fell instead of the Jeep, then where would I be?’ He says, ‘Jail, for child endangerment.”
Frank will be heading to court for his tickets, a combined total of $110. His court date is May 30.
“I don’t care, I’ll pay it,” Roder said. “It’s just the principle. When something like that happens so fast, I could give a rat’s a– about the car.”
It is possible that the officer could have used a second opinion regarding the right time to ticket someone for failure to produce an insurance card and failure to use the emergency brake. Sometimes, saving a life is more important than an emergency brake.