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Teen reacts quickly, saving himself, mother from injury

By Gerry Yandel

When Teresa Rumpf slumped over the wheel of her Ford Taurus Sunday evening, no one was more surprised than her son ... sitting in the passenger seat.

"She slumped over and fell on me, and I said, 'Oh, God, mama what's wrong," said Josh Rumpf, 14.

Without really thinking about it, the Luella Middle School student, who is about 6 feet tall, was reaching under the dashboard, pushing his mother off of him, yelling for her to wake up and "stomping the brake with my hand."

His actions may have saved his mother and himself serious injuries. Josh managed to bring the car to a stop, after bouncing from curb to curb, while avoiding other vehicles on Midland Parkway in McDonough.

At first, he didn't know what was going on as he and his mother headed home from a shopping trip at Wal-Mart.

"She said, 'Oh,' and just slumped over on me," he said.

He didn't have much time to wonder, though, because Teresa, 34, stomped on the gas pedal while she was blacked out.

"When I looked at the speedometer, it said about 60 or 70," he said. "I had to climb down to the floor board because I couldn't fit over the console."

Teresa came to find her son holding her up with one hand while he pushed down hard on the brake pedal. She said initially, everything was black and all she could hear was her son yelling.

"It's still scary thinking about it," she said.

The car finally came to a stop when it hit a curb and the tire bent from the axle, gradually slowing the vehicle.

Witnesses called 911, and police and an ambulance arrived. Officers at first asked Teresa if she had been drinking or if she had a medical condition. Paramedics took her vital signs, but things appeared normal. Teresa said she isn't sure what happened.

"I took a drink of my drink and there was an incredible pain in my chest," she said. "The next thing I remember, it was all black and I heard Josh yelling at me to wake up."

Teresa was transported to Henry Medical Center, where some tests were run, though nothing became immediately apparent about why she blacked out.

"There was something on the EKG, but I have to go see a cardiologist," she said.

The car sustained some severe damage, with three blown-out tires and a possible bent frame, Teresa said

Teresa said she sometimes lets Josh drive the car up and down the driveway, or around the yard of their Locust Grove home. But she said he didn't need to know how to drive to know he needed to figure out something quickly.

"He says I drive like a granny," Teresa said. "So, when the car sped up, he knew something was wrong."