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Monday 19 February 2018

Gaming fan (11) uses 'Grand Theft Auto' skills to save grandad

Mark O'Regan

Mark O'Regan

A SCHOOLBOY used driving skills honed from hours of playing 'Grand Theft Auto' to take the wheel when his grandfather blacked out.

Charlie Cullen (11) from Slane, Co Meath, has been praised for his quick thinking after his grandfather collapsed while driving at nighttime.

He has been hailed a hero by his family, who say he saved both their lives despite a high- speed smash where the car ploughed into a ditch and turned over. His grandfather, Finn Cullen (72), was dropping his grandson home from a drama rehearsal, when he suddenly slumped forward against the steering wheel.

At first Charlie thought it was an April Fools' joke, but as the car began to pick up speed, he quickly realised the gravity of the situation.

He frantically grabbed the steering wheel, to manoeuvre the vehicle which threatened to run out of control.

The speed of the car increased dramatically to over 70kmh because his grandfather's foot had moved on to the accelerator

"I had one hand on the steering wheel – and the other trying to wake Papa up. The main thing was to wake him up," he said.

"But I didn't panic because I knew how to steer a bit from 'Grand Theft Auto'."

Charlie managed to haul his grandfather to safety through the driver's door.

Mr Cullen added: "Most of the impact was on his side of the car when it hit the ditch. The car was completely written off.

"I only live about 200 yards from where the accident happened so I put my arms over him and we managed to get up to the house.

"I lost a lot of blood but there's no long-term damage. I had an MRI scan done and various other tests, but they don't know what caused me to black out."

Charlie says he can remember the car "turning in the air'' and the lights on the wall of nearby Slane Castle. I can't remember much else."

Irish Independent

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