Two Nebraska kids are making headlines following their decision to text 911 while riding in the car with their drunk dad. According to New York Daily News, Mackenzie and Ethan Behrens, 14 and 12, were supposed to be traveling with their dad, Jason Behrens, to vacation in Colorado. But unfortunately, their vacation was cut short when they realized their dad wasn’t in any condition to drive the distance. Shortly after hitting the road, his driving quickly alarmed them.
“We told him we don’t want to go anymore because you are drunk and I don’t want to die,” Mackenzie said.
In fact, his driving was so disturbing, the kids feared for their lives and decided to take matters into their own hands to make sure they made it back home safely. Although this reportedly isn’t the first time the dad had driven drunk with his kids, they revealed why this time was much different.
During an interview with ABC-3340, Ethan revealed his father was “swerving dangerously” and he admitted they’d come severely close to hitting other cars as they passed. “When a car passed, you could hear how close it was,” said Ethan.
Initially, they tried to give him a chance, but when he swerved again, they knew something had to be done. So, instead of risking their lives hoping their drunk dad made it to their destination safely, they made a quick decision to text 911 in an effort not to alarm him. “He swerved again so I pressed send,” said Mackenzie. As the kids continued the text message with the 911 dispatcher, officers with the Kearney Police Department were dispatched to find their dad. Mackenzie and Ethan quickly came up with a plan to help officers catch up with their dad’s rental car.
They reportedly asked if he could pull over at a local Burger King restaurant. When he did, officers met them at the location. Although the dad adamantly insisted that he wasn’t drunk, officers determined that his blood alcohol level was 0.08, which is three times the legal limit in the state of Nebraska. Jason Behrens was arrested, and the kids were released to their mother, Amy Brooks. When asked about her reaction to her kids’ decision to report their drunk dad, she admitted the situation was relatively “bittersweet.” Although she was angry at their father, she’s glad they are safe. “I was very angry, but…the better part is that they are safe now, that I came and picked them up,” Brooks said.
The unconventional story has caught the attention of news outlets everywhere because of their kids’ brave decision. It’s probably safe to say many children would not have made the same choice. But, Ethan adamantly believes he and his sister made the right choice and that their dad left them no other alternative. “He’s our parent, our other parent. It was hard, but he just pushed us to the point that we had to,” said Ethan.
Texting 911 is one of the latest developments being implemented to utilize technology for emergency purposes. While it is still unavailable in many areas of the United States, Buffalo County, Nebraska made the option available last year. It is still highly recommended that 911 be contacted by making a voice call, but in cases like this, the option could be quite essential.
[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]