Nine-year-old girl saves dad’s life by driving to hospital

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News
Esteria Smith drove her dad's car to hospital after he was affected by a tumour. (Screengrab)

Two weeks ago, we shared the story of a 10-year-old Colorado boy who drove his family to safety after his grandmother suffered a heart attack behind the wheel.

This week, a 9-year-old Florida girl is also being hailed a hero for her quick thinking — and for her driving skills.

Esteria Smith had just been picked up from her karate class in Panama City, Florida, when her dad, John, started mumbling and driving erratically.

"I started thinking to myself, 'well, what's wrong with him?'" Esteria told WJHG.

John told his daughter that he was driving to the hospital. Then he lost his vision — and started to act strangely.

"He told me he couldn't see, and started panicking, saying, 'I don't know what to eat, I don't know what to eat," Esteria recalled. "Then, he gave me his phone, but didn't tell me what to do! I didn't know if I needed to call the ambulance or what I needed to do!"

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Esteria quickly figured out what to do: "I took over the wheel."

She reached over her father and grabbed the steering wheel from the backseat with one hand.

"He was fighting me, and I couldn't make the turns that I needed to do," she said. "I hit a curve, and we almost ran into the front of an ambulance!"

The young girl drove the vehicle about eight blocks to the ER. By that time, John had lost his vision, motor skill and memory.

"She was still a trooper," Tia Smith, Esteria's mom, told WJHG. "She was still by his bedside. It was not the best of conditions, another child would have probably panicked and continued to panic — she didn't. She gave me a report, told me what happened, and gave the nursing staff his health history that she did know."

Doctors discovered a tumour the size of a golf ball on the left side John's brain. He's now receiving treatment.