Mom Throws Herself in Front of Car to Save Son


school zoneThat's it. My kid is never walking herself home from the bus stop. You hear me? Never. I will drive her until the day she graduates. And before you tell me I'm a fraidy cat, irrational helicopter parent, here's a horror story for you.

Marcela Meadows was just being a responsible mom, walking her 7-year-old to school in Linden, New Jersey. It's not much different from what I do every afternoon, walking my daughter home from her bus stop so we can get a little exercise and enjoy the sunshine. We usually talk about her day; it's a great bonding time. But Meadows' mother/son bonding time ended when a driver failed to stop at the crosswalk and yield to the pedestrians.

The rock star mom had seconds to act. She threw her son out of the way and threw herself in front of the car. Can you imagine? Scratch that. I don't want to imagine.

Meadows reportedly suffered injuries that were -- fortunately -- not life threatening, and her little boy is fine. Thank heavens! But reports the driver, a man named Shan Mack, isn't just your average guy charged with failure to yield to a pedestrian. Last fall, Mack's 8-year-old son was hit by a car driven by a mom from the same town. The little boy wasn't so lucky. He died from his injuries. So sad.

Put the two families' troubles together, and that's when I start thinking that crazy "no, I won't let my kid walk on a roadside" business. Maybe I'm overreacting. A bit? A lot?

But while people tend to make a huge deal out of kids being picked up by a pedophile when they're walking to or from school, it's a fact that's not borne out by statistics. The vast number of missing kids are abducted by a known quantity, usually someone in their family.

It's the cars that scare the pants off of me because the traffic danger statistics are very real. And as Meadows' case shows, it can happen even when their parents are right there. According to the CDC:

A national Safe Kids Campaign survey found 2/3 of drivers exceeded the posted speed limit in school zones during the 30-minute period before and after school. (National Safe Kids Campaign, 2002)

A national observational survey found that many motorists at intersections in school zones and residential neighborhoods violated stop signs (pedestrian injury fact sheet, 2004): 45% by not coming to a complete stop, 37% by rolling through, 7% by not even slowing down.

We live in a society where there are a lot more cars on the road than there were during our childhoods. More cars mean more accidents. More accidents mean more kids at risk. And short of jumping in front of a car like Marcela Meadows did, there isn't much we can do to protect our kids besides teaching them to be careful and crossing our fingers.

We have to trust fate. So the truth is, my kid will likely walk home from the bus stop one day, if only because I'll get sick of her whining that I'm always there with the car. But that doesn't make me any less nervous about the day it will come.

Do you worry about your kids walking to and from school? Is it abduction or an accident that scares you?


Image via chunkysalsa/Flickr



To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

Cafe Amy Cafe Amy

Stuff like this freaks me out so much! Really happy the mom is okay...


My son walks on a safe path that I drop him off at,  so there is not danger of cars because he doesn't cross or walk on or near any roads,  but when we walk or ride bikes we are always super wary because we know people don't always see (or even LOOK) for pedestrians or bikers.  Of course I worry about abduction but my son walks with other kids and adults in teh morning, and with ME in the afternoon and it is crowded and busy path. 

Pbutt... Pbuttercup0625

Seriously? You will quit walking from the bus stop with her? You are there with her.  Life happens, putting her and/or yourself in a protective bubble (or car in this case) isn't going to fix things.  Besides, what if you were driving in the car heading home after picking her up from the bus stop and someone hit you on the side where your daughter sits when they blow through a stop sign?  Being in a car isn't going to fix any danger issue, it simply changes the type of danger.  The exercise is good for you and her.  Plus, I think by now driving her you are taking away that special time you two have when you walk home together.

potte... potterpeaches

More kids die in car accidents than from any of the dangers of walking. If driving a child everywhere is statistically more likely to get them killed, why not walk some places to lower the risk? Just a thought.

nonmember avatar Anon

To add to potterpeaches' point: the risk of kids being hit by cars on the way to school is mainly due to the fact that other parents won't let their kids walk to school! They drive to school to "protect" their own kids, but take the risk of running over others' kids. Nobody should drive kids to school if walking is a viable option. In fact, those who drive kids to school should be required to drop them off somewhere away from the school and let them walk the rest of the way. It would be safer (and healthier) for all the kids. Not to mention better for the environment.

Aundria Cooper Premo

When my son was about 8 he had a female friend the same age...I found out later they shared their first kiss together. Well she was out with a group of friends riding their bikes and a dump truck was at a stop light. The group all crossed together, or so he thought, and when he didn't see anymore children, he pulled out from the stop sign. My son's friend was still in front of the truck. She was hit and died later that evening. This is tragic. But sadly there is no safety net that will protect our children 24/7. They can't live in a bubble. All we can do is the best we can do, exercising our best judgement at all possible times. We can't not let them be kids, we can only be the best parents we can be.

Claudia Macznik

as a driving instructor i think its very sad when people just stop caring about themselves and others some people i dont know how they get their licenses its crazy

molly... mollysmom212

we live right across the street from school i can see my kids (9&14) from my house until they come to the street where we have traffic guard stopping the cars..yes it could happen that a car runs over the guard...but in all honesty i think it is better to tell kids about all dangers like strangers and not crossing the street without looking /or before the cars can`t shield your kids from everything that is out there...there are school shootings and other things or your kid could catch any disease going around in school ...i think if you want to think that way you would have to homeschool and have your kid right next to you 24/7...teaching safety and awareness is way better

Kristin Gladstone Thomas

I am so thankful to live in a subdivision where there are bike paths to our school. My kids only have to walk around their cul-de-sac for about thirty seconds before they are on the bike paths all the way to school. If they don't walk, I drive them and drop them off right at the front of the school, pick up is the same way. I don't take chances, people drive like lunatics and do not know how to obey the speed limit.

Pirat... PiratesMama

This is another reason why I am quite happy to say I am home schooling my oldest.

1-10 of 46 comments 12345 Last