Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Heroic Dad Ticketed for Saving Son

Frank Roder Jeep accident and park sign

Frank Roder Jeep accident and park sign

New Jersey dad Frank Roder, 38, thought it would be fun to take his son, Aidan, 5, to the Rahway River to feed the ducks on May 17. They were at the river when Roder paused to choose a parking space. The boy decided it was time to get out of the vehicle and took off running — towards the edge of a cliff and a 35-foot drop. Roder had no time to think, only to react as he jumped from his Jeep and ran to intercept his son just feet from the edge. Aidan was saved, but the Jeep went off the cliff instead, rolling down the embankment to take a nosedive into the river at the bottom.

The thankful pair awaited emergency response teams who required a crane to haul the Jeep out of the river. To his amazement the Jeep started right up. But nothing could match his shock when a Union County police officer approached him and handed him two tickets, one for failing to set the hand brake, saying according to Roder, “If you would have taken the five seconds to apply the brake, this never would have happened,” and the other for failure to show proof on insurance (the card was in the Jeep). Roder countered, saying, “Really? And if I did and my boy stepped over the edge and fell instead of the Jeep, then where would I be?” The smug reply? “Jail, for child endangerment.” There are some arguments, it seems, you just can’t win. Roder chose to be grateful that his son was safe, and that he had left his six-week-old son, Joel, at home.

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