Eight-year-old hero gets his day

May 25 named Dillon Earl Day for boy who averted possible tragic crash

Fruita Mayor Ken Henry congratulates Dillon Earl after the Fruita City Council approved a proclamation declaring May 25 Dillon Earl Day.

If a hero is someone who stands apart from others by his or her words and appearance, Dillon Earl doesn’t look the part.

The bashful 8-year-old Fruita boy squished himself between his sister, Summer, and his father, Justin, Tuesday night at the Fruita Civic Center. He shook his head when he was asked by the Fruita City Council if he wanted to talk about the events of a week and a half ago that brought him a whirlwind of attention from the community and media across the state. When he finally did speak, his words were barely audible.

Dillon was perfectly content to let his actions — and City Council members — do the talking for him.

The council honored Dillon with a proclamation declaring May 25 as Dillon Earl Day in the city, a tribute befitting a boy who may have saved his own life, the life of his grandmother and the lives of other motorists on Interstate 70 when he guided his grandmother’s speeding truck to a safe stop after she suffered a seizure while driving to Fellowship Church April 25.

Dillon told council members he simply took off his passenger-side seat belt, steered the truck to the side of the road and put on the brake. His grandmother, Lisa DeKruger, is doing fine.

The second-grader shook hands with Mayor Ken Henry and all the members of the council.

“We’re proud to have you here in Fruita,” Councilwoman Stacey Mascarenas told Dillon, joking that “you have to stay here the rest of your life.”

Justin Earl called his son “an astounding young man.”

“He’s my hero,” he said.

Sitting on a bench with Dillon in front of a bank of television cameras outside the council hearing room, Earl said the media attention was “a little overwhelming” at first.

“(Dillon) doesn’t think of it as anything other than something he had to do,” Earl said.

Wearing a white T-shirt that read “Rise Above,” Dillon said he’d rather be playing basketball than answering questions about his actions. After the TV cameras were turned off, he looked at the vending machine in the corner of the Civic Center, turned to Dad and asked, “Can I have a soda?”


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