Society

Retired Officer Rescues Baby (Photo)

| by Nicholas Roberts
Steve EckelSteve Eckel

An ex- sheriff's officer in New Jersey saved an infant's life when he used a sledgehammer to smash open a window of the hot car the infant was stuck inside.

Eckel, 53, was in Howell, New Jersey, with three of his children, and was heading to a Kohl's clothing store while his children shopped for cosmetics according to NJ.com.

While walking toward the store in the parking lot, Eckel (pictured below) walked past Sarah Mazzone, 53, when both of them heard a baby's cry in a parked vehicle close by.

"I ran up and tried to open the doors but they were locked," Eckel said.  He reported it was then that he remembered the sledgehammer in the back of his car and retrieved it, then went back to the vehicle and smashed the window.

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"I tried breaking the window, I hit the corner and it just shattered," said Eckel.

The infant "was red like a tomato, her extremities were just bright red." The two then called the police, and Mazzone moistened a part of her shirt in order to cool down the baby.  They then went into the air-conditioned Kohl's store to wait for police.

The baby, 4 months old and fully clothed, was said by Howell police to have been in "a great deal of distress" and was sweating profusely.

The two stayed with the child until 33-year-old mother Karen Gruen returned with two other children. Gruen initially panicked when she returned to her vehicle and saw that the infant was not there.

Gruen was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child, and has been released pending a court appearance.

Eckel said that in his 25-year career in law enforcement, he had been in medical emergencies, but never one involving an infant.

"The bottom line is it's about being human," said Eckel.

Sources: NJ.com, Daily Mail / Photo credit: Facebook via Daily Mail

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