PALATKA, Fla. – A 3-year-old was safely rescued and reunited with his family Monday night after two good samaritans spotted him in the middle of a busy street in Palatka.
Two men were driving down St. Johns Avenue near Pine Street when they nearly ran over the toddler in the middle of the roadway, according to the Palatka Police Department. At night, a section of the road is also very dark because of limited streetlights.
After the child was relocated to safety, one of the men was recorded on a Ring doorbell camera frantically trying to find who the boy belonged to. The Ring video also shows one of the men flagging down a patrol officer.
“Somebody’s baby is in the road. A little small baby is on the road. Somebody’s baby out here. You don’t know anyone next door who has a small baby,” the man was heard saying on video.
Palatka police spokesperson Matt Newcomb said the two men’s actions saved the child’s life.
“Luckily, they did not hit the child, but they were good enough people to stop, pull over, check on the child, and then go door to door to do their own canvas of the neighborhood to try and identify who the child belonged to. They stayed with the child until our officers arrived on the scene. It was phenomenal,” Newcomb said.
The men eventually came across the child’s father. The father told police that he left the child with his wife and another child to go pick up dinner. When he returned, the front door was open and the toddler was nowhere to be found.
Police said what happened is a teachable moment for parents.
“Ensure the doors are closed. With little children like that, have a door bolt or door chain up high that the child can’t reach so they can’t get out of the house because instead of this being a public service announcement, It could have been a story of we’ve lost another child,” Newcomb said.
The Good Samaritan said he has nightmares about what could have happened to that child.
The parents are not facing charges because the police said they did nothing wrong.
In other similar cases where parents are charged, those parents are accused of willful child neglect because they were either drunk or strung out on drugs.
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https://www.news4jax.com/news/local/2023/11/15/good-samaritans-driving-down-busy-palatka-street-rescue-wandering-3-year-old-from-getting-hit/ Good Samaritans driving down busy Palatka street rescue wandering 3-year-old from getting hit