Two quick-thinking Nebraska children may have saved their own lives and countless others when they texted 911 to stop their father from allegedly driving drunk in a rental car.
Mackenzie and Ethan Behrens, 14 and 12, had embarked on a road trip from Kearney to Colorado with their father, 44-year-old Jason Behrens, when they began sending messages to 911 asking for help on March 25.
“We told him many times, we don’t want to go anymore because you are really drunk and I don’t want to die,” Mackenzie told NTV News.
Allegedly ignoring his children’s pleas for him to stop the car, the father continued on what would be a seven-hour drive, swerving as he drove.
“The next time he swerves, send the text,” Ethan said he told his sister.
“And he swerved again so I pushed send,” she added.
The pair communicated with a 911 operator as their father drove, describing businesses they saw so police could find them, a family friend wrote on a GoFundMe page created for the family.
They convinced their father—who allegedly insisted he wasn’t drunk—to pull over at a Burger King so officers could catch up to the car before it merged onto the interstate.
When cops finally caught up to the family, they had Behrens take a breathalyzer test. His blood alcohol content was 0.224%, nearly three times the legal limit, police said.
He was arrested and charged with DUI, his second offense, and two counts of driving under the influence with a passenger under 16, officials said.
He is due court for his arraignment on April 27.
Burger King employees gave the children food while they waited for their mother to pick them up, the family friend said.
The siblings said this was not the first time their father drove after drinking, but other close calls made them realize they needed help.
Authorities commended the siblings for their bravery and quick thinking.
“It’s a good thing they did (text),” Capt. Michael Kirkwood with the Kearney Police Department told InsideEditon.com. “There’s a good chance he would have gotten into a wreck.”
According to the GoFundMe page, the children's mother is trying to gain sole custody of her son and daughter.
Starting last year, Buffalo County, Nebraska made it possible for those in need to text 911.