Skip to Content

Frank Roder, a New Jersey dad, saved his son from falling off a cliff, but couldn’t stop his Jeep from going over the precipice and into a river below.

The reward for his ordeal? Two traffic tickets from local police.

Roder, a construction worker from the town of Winfield Park, had taken his son, Aidan, down to the Rahway River to feed some ducks last week.

But when he stopped briefly before settling on a parking space, the impatient boy jumped out ran toward a ledge, 35 feet above the river.

The Hollywood Gossip Logo

“He hopped out, and I thought that was okay, I was just going to park,” Roder, 38, said, but “he just took off, made a beeline for the edge.”

The panic-stricken father jumped out of the cab of his Jeep Commander and raced after the errant boy, catching him just feet from the cliff.

That’s when Aidan, eyes as big as saucers, said, “Um, Daddy …”

Roder turned in time to see the Jeep nosedive down the embankment and land in the muddy water. Union County police converged on the scene.

He was counting his blessings when a cop approached him and handed him two tickets:

  1. Failure to produce the insurance card (somewhere in the waterlogged cab).
  2. Failure to use his emergency brake.
 
“I couldn’t believe it,” Roder said. “He said, ‘If you would have taken the five seconds to apply the brake, this never would have happened!’

“I say, ‘Really? And if I did and my boy stepped over the edge and fell instead, then were would I be?’ He says, ‘Jail, for child endangerment.'”

Union County Police Chief Daniel Vaniska told Fox News that his officers have some discretion about when and when not to write a ticket. But he said he just didn’t have enough information to second-guess what this officer did.

“It probably could have gone either way,” Vaniska said.

“I can’t comment on the discretionary practices of an officer, but certainly, the fellow will have an opportunity to tell his story in court.”