2010-11-18 / Front Page

Teen hero detains driver, prevents accident

By Sylvie Belmond belmond@theacorn.com

WELL DONE—Calabasas High School senior Sean Wika, center, is congratulated for helping authorities catch a drunk driver last month. From left, L.A. County Dep. David Waishwile, Sean’s mother Christine Wika, Sean, Capt. Joseph Stephen and Lt. Andrew Rosso. SYLVIE BELMOND/Acorn Newspapers WELL DONE—Calabasas High School senior Sean Wika, center, is congratulated for helping authorities catch a drunk driver last month. From left, L.A. County Dep. David Waishwile, Sean’s mother Christine Wika, Sean, Capt. Joseph Stephen and Lt. Andrew Rosso. SYLVIE BELMOND/Acorn Newspapers When Sean Wika saw a potentially deadly situation on the road, the Calabasas High School senior decided to take action.

While riding his bicycle home from the gym at about 9:15 p.m. Sept. 15, Sean saw a motorist traveling toward him on Calabasas Parkway with a broken front wheel assembly.

The 17-year-old said he always faces traffic while biking because he wants to see oncoming vehicles. The precaution may have saved his life that night.

“I see this car headed right toward me at about 50 miles an hour. I’m hearing the tire screeching extremely loud, so I ditch my bike and jump to the side,” Sean said.

After that he heard an explosion and saw a wheel and suspension assembly come off the already damaged vehicle.

“The driver slowed a bit but continued to drive about 100 feet on three wheels with sparks flying everywhere,” Sean said.

Once stopped, the man got out of his car to examine the damage as Sean approached.

“When I get there, he’s stumbling out of the car and I could see he was definitely drunk. But then he gets back in the car and tries to drive away,” Sean said.

Fearing that the man was going to hurt someone, Sean ordered the motorist to stop.

“He was still creeping forward. I yelled stop, but he didn’t listen. Since he had a window down I reached in there and shut the engine off,” Sean said.

He then pulled the driver out of the car and called authorities.

As Sean and the driver waited for law enforcement, four men arrived claiming they were waiters from a nearby club and friends of the driver and they could take him home.

As they advanced, Sean stepped between the driver and the men and told them the driver would stay until police arrived.

“I stood up as authoritatively as I could and told them I would not let them take the man,” he said.

The four men left as the sound of sirens approached and police arrived.

At a Calabasas City Council meeting last week, leaders from the city and the Los Angeles County Sheriff ’s Department praised Sean for his deed. They said Sean displayed great courage when he placed himself at risk to protect others.

“Sean, being a concerned citizen for the safety of his fellow citizens, took the initiative to confront the driver,” Lt. Andrew Rosso said.

“This is a big deal. . . . You saved somebody’s life,” Mayor Barry Groveman told Sean.

Groveman and Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station Capt. Joseph Stephen gave Sean two awards in recognition of his effort. Stephen also suggested Sean join the department when he comes of age.

Sean’s mother, Christine Wika, beamed with pride.

“When I first heard the story I was worried about him, but then realized it was pretty incredible,” Christine Wika said.

“I had driven by with my other son and saw a car on the side of the road and the police. I didn’t know it was my son at the time. But later I called Sean to find out where he was and I found out what happened,” she said.

Sean said he felt compelled to take action and would do it all over again.

“I don’t stand for stuff like this. I don’t like seeing people getting hurt or people about to commit a crime and hurt someone. (The driver) almost killed me, and I wouldn’t want one of my friends killed by this guy. I knew I could do something to prevent it, so I did.”

After high school, Sean plans to study marketing and business, and he may consider a career in law enforcement but not until much later. In the meantime, Sean said, he’s looking for a part-time job to gain some experience and earn some extra cash.

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