New Jersey (WSYR-TV/ABC) -- A New Jersey dad is being hailed a hero by everyone – except the police -- for saving his young son from heading over a steep embankment last week.
Frank Roder saw his 5-year-old son running toward the embankment and was afraid he would slip into the Rahway River. Roder managed to save his son from the dangerous fall, but his troubles were only beginning.
“I thought he was going to beeline over there and into the water,” Roder told WABC reporter Jen Maxfield.
Roder had just taught his son Aidan how to unbuckle his own seatbelt and get out of the car himself. Aidan took the lesson to heart last Thursday when he hopped out of his dad’s car when he was trying to decide on a parking spot. Aidan headed for the Rahway River where the two had planned to skip rocks and look for ducks.
When Roder saw what was happening he panicked and thought he had put his jeep in park, but instead, Roder had accidentally left the car in drive and it rolled into the river. Frank was grateful there weren’t any fishermen by the shore.
When Union County Police showed up to the park and saw the jeep in the water, Roder expected them to help him out, but first he was issued two tickets – one for failing to use the emergency brake and another for failing to produce his insurance card. The card was soaked and locked in the waterlogged truck.
“If you’re a father, you’re going to grab your kid, your car can roll off wherever,” Roder said.
Roder wonders if the officers could have been more understanding of the fact that he was only trying to save his son.
Roder is grateful for his safety and for the decision he made that morning not to take his newborn baby Joel with him on the trip, because he could have been trapped inside the car.
A spokesman for Union County Police says the officer was following protocol and that it’s too late to take back the tickets once they’re written. Roder will have to fight the $110 fines in court.