Child pulls car out of gear, sending vehicle careening down hill

Posted Sept. 29, 2011, at 5:14 a.m.

DIXFIELD, Maine — A 4-year-old boy pulled a gear shift lever out of park, sending a vehicle rolling down Brian Street last week with two other children on board.

Dixfield police Chief Richard A. Pickett said Nicole Baltrus of Dixfield parked her 1996 Chrysler Cirrus at a house on Brian Street, took the keys out of the ignition and left three children ages 8, 5 and 4 buckled inside the vehicle last Friday.

While Baltrus was inside the house, “the 4-year-old was able to unbuckle himself and crawl to the driver’s seat of the vehicle where he pulled the shift lever,” Pickett said. The vehicle began “rolling down the street, which is a pretty big hill.”

Sgt. Jeffery Howe said in his report that the car went straight onto a lawn at a curve in the street, rolled between a house and garage, went down a set of concrete steps and crossed Hall Hill.

“It was then that the vehicle hit the curb and slid into a driveway, striking a 1994 Volvo wagon,” Pickett said.

Neighbor Isaac Libby was the first to respond to the accident and checked on the children, who were not injured.

Howe said in his report that he was able to shift the car into park and through all the gears without the key in the ignition.

Both cars were damaged.

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