Dad Ticketed for Saving Son, Not His Jeep, From Rolling Off Cliff

By Edward Tan, JD on May 23, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A New Jersey dad received two traffic tickets after he let his vehicle fall down an embankment and into a river. Frank Roder leapt from his 2006 Jeep Commander to save his son, Aidan.

Roder, 38, brought his 5-year-old son to Rahway River to feed ducks. However, the excited boy bolted from the Jeep before Roder could park. Aidan ran straight toward a ledge 35 feet above the river. So Roder did what any good father would do. He caught his son before he could fall. 

Though Aidan was safe, police weren't too sympathetic to the father's scare and gave Roder a pair of traffic citations.

So what were his tickets for?

One was for failing to produce his insurance card. At the time, the card was stuck somewhere in the waterlogged Jeep.

The second ticket was for failing to use his parking brake. Roder was told by the citing officer that he could've avoided the whole mess if he just put it on before leaving his vehicle.

The problem was that doing so could've cost him his son. Roder told the officer he had to act fast in order to protect Aidan. He then asked the cop what would've happened if he let his son fall instead of his vehicle.

"Jail, for child endangerment," the officer allegedly told Roder. Talk about a rock and a hard place.

The traffic tickets in Roder's case were for $50 and $60. The punishment for child endangerment on the other hand is much worse. It's a felony and depending on the degree, it can land a person in jail for up to 10 years.

However, legal punishments aside, what father could live with voluntarily allowing his child to get hurt to save his Jeep?

Roder claims he doesn't mind paying for the traffic tickets. He's just glad he was able to save his son. According to the Union County police chief, he told the media he didn't have enough information to comment on the tickets. However he said officers do have some discretion on when to give them.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard