Car crashes after child pulls gear shift out of park

DIXFIELD — 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.

What do you think of this story?

Login to post comments

In order to make comments, you must create a subscription.

In order to comment on, you must hold a valid subscription allowing access to this website. You must use your real name and include the town in which you live in your profile. To subscribe or link your existing subscription click here.

Login or create an account here.

Our policy prohibits comments that are:

  • Defamatory, abusive, obscene, racist, or otherwise hateful
  • Excessively foul and/or vulgar
  • Inappropriately sexual
  • Baseless personal attacks or otherwise threatening
  • Contain illegal material, or material that infringes on the rights of others
  • Commercial postings attempting to sell a product/item
If you violate this policy, your comment will be removed and your account may be banned from posting comments.



 's picture

shifting car

It appears to me this car wasn't roadworthy. Or it wasn't inspected properly. The vast majority of cars now a days need to have the prake pressed before being able to shift from park.

Kristina Gailloux's picture


and what was the mother doing leaving 3 children in a car on the side of the road to run into a house?

Roger Moulton's picture

so quick to judge

I don't know this woman and I don't know how long she was in the house but the article did say she was in front of her home. While I personally wouldn't leave my daughter in the car if I was parked on the side of the road on a hill I think most of us would be lieing to say that we wouldn't leave our child(ren) in the car in our own driveway if we were just running in to grab a wallet or a checkbook or something. I can remember several times as a child when my mother left myself and my two sisters in the vehicle while she ran in to a store real quick and definetely at our own house. And my mother is certainly not lazy nor was she a bad parent. Robin if you have children I'm sure there is a time when you have left them in the vehicle at your house for long enough to run in and grab something which is all it takes for a child to unbuckle and pull the shifter. Again I don't think she should have done this being on a roadside or on a hill but to call her lazy or question what type of parent she is is just ridiculous. Sounds like Robin Dudley is overly judgemental and has too much free time. This is an easy to make mistake that could have had serious consequences and I'm sure she will never leave her children unattended in a vehicle again.

Roger Moulton's picture


okay I guess I read it wrong the first time I read it. I thought it said in front of her house. It is a lot different if she was at someone else's house but again we don't know how long she was inside and you must be old cuz in the early 90's they started putting shifting locks in all cars so that the brake had to be pressed in order to shift the car. If you had cars that could do that they were either really old or you had poor mechanics and there was something wrong with your car.

Roger Moulton's picture


Well if your well known chain is V.I.P. then your mechanic gets paid like $8 and hour and probably has zero school training so how good of a mechanic do you think you'll get at the well known chains? And if your car is a 1999 and shifts out of park without the brake being pressed then your car is a standard transimission and you're a bonehead or the shiftlock in your car is broken. And I called you old cuz you called that girl lazy and well I just like to argue with you. lol. Nothing personal I just think this is a great place to debate with people.


Stay informed — Get the news delivered for free in your inbox.

I'm interested in ...