A Massachusetts boy who escaped a car accident late at night and summoned help has been taken into state custody, but little has been reported about the accident in which Joshua Garcia, 8, and dad Eugene Garcia, nearly perished.
Joshua Garcia was traveling with his dad in Fitchburg, Massachusetts when the vehicle crashed into the Nashua River. The eight-year-old boy extricated himself from the car, swam to shore, and walked a mile to his home after the 3 AM wreck to wake his mother and call 911.
Paul McNamara of the Fitchburg Police Department confirmed that criminal charges against the elder Garcia, who was alert and trapped in the car when cops arrived, after the incident.
Joshua Garcia was released into the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services on July 4. Interestingly, no specifically criminal behavior nor any that can necessarily be claimed as legitimately endangering the welfare of a child was referenced — ABC reports:
” … Joshua Garcia, was driving with his father, Eugene Garcia, in Fitchburg at approximately 3 a.m. when the car hit a guardrail, traveled airborne and landed upside down on a sandbank in the middle of the Nashua River, said Brian Belliveau, deputy fire chief for the Fitchburg Fire Department … The firefighters were able to successfully remove the father, who was alert, from the car.”
The site continues:
“Paul McNamara, traffic specialist for the Fitchburg Police Department, told ABC News that Joshua was wearing his seatbelt and unbuckled it when he noticed the father had injuries. He ran home barefoot and drenched to call 911.”
Both Joshua Garcia and dad Eugene were treated and released, and McNamara cited a possible “excessive rate of speed” as a factor in the decision to criminally charge the father — but no cause was cited for the removal of the boy McNamara called “a hero” from his home, as is often standard in child protection cases.
Somewhat alarmingly, relatives of Joshua and Eugene Garcia say that the family is under investigation — and the child traumatically ripped from the home — simply because they were out late at night, which in and of itself is something the Department of Children and Family Services may believe is neglect.
Currently, there are no official parental curfews nor guidelines about whether being out late with a child is prosecutable neglect, but aunt Priscilla Columna confirms:
“He was brave … They took over, just because they say it’s neglect driving at that time.”
According to Opposing Views, the Department of Children and Family Services also confirmed they feel compelled to investigate Joshua Garcia’s home for the sole reason the father and son were out too late.