Quick thinking helps local 11-year-old, Garett Thornton, prevent tragedy

Garett Thornton (right) is pictured with his father Toby at a hospital in La Crosse as Toby recovers from symptoms that caused him to lose consciousness while driving Sept. 21. Garett’s quick thinking allowed both he and his father to escape their harrowing situation unscathed.


A local 11-year-old is being credited as a hero by his family and friends after preventing what could have been a tragedy.

Monona’s Garett Thornton took control of his father Toby’s vehicle Sept. 21 after Toby lost consciousness while driving along Highway 18 east of Monona.

“We were heading to Prairie (du Chien) just to get some fishing lures from Cabella’s,” Garett said. “We were heading past the cattle barns on Highway 18 and (my dad) was talking and he didn’t look right. He was talking to me and there was a car in front of us and he starting going in the other lane.”

Garett said his father began shaking and then hit his head on the window.

“I started yelling his name and he was on the gas still,” Garett said.

By this time Garret realized that his father, a quadriplegic who drives a van outfitted with hand controls on the steering wheel, had completely lost consciousness.

“I put my foot on the dash and pushed him back and took his hand off the gas,” Garett said. 

Read the full article in the October 2 publication of the Postville Herald.