After a deputy rescued a toddler who was running down a highway in Oregon at night, the sheriff’s office published the dash-cam video on Facebook to warn others about the potential dangers of distracted driving.
During a rainy night on Jan. 9, Deputy Jeremy Gautney with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office was driving on U.S. 101 in Newport, Oregon, when he saw a 2-year-old in the road, according to the sheriff's office's Facebook post.
Gautney stopped the car upon seeing the child, who quickly ran towards the patrol car. The deputy got out, grabbed the toddler, and carried him to safety.
"Shortly after removing the child from the highway, Deputy Gautney was alerted to the child’s frantic parents who were searching for him," Lincoln County Sheriff's Office spokesman Lt. Curtis Landers said about the incident. "The child was returned to them unharmed."
According to Landers, the family had been cleaning up after a family event at a community center when the toddler acted “in a flash of a second.” He left through an open door and ran towards the highway.
The dash-cam video with Landers's commentary has been posted on the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office – Oregon Facebook page on Jan. 21.
"The following video is for educational purposes and not intended to ridicule or question those involved," Landers said. "The incident was investigated thoroughly and determined to be accidental and no criminal charges will be brought to the parties involved."
In the comments section of the Facebook post, some Facebook users wrote about similar incidents happening in their own families.
“It can happen so fast, my daughter ran out of a store on 101 last year while I was paying,” Facebook user Jessica Dunham wrote. “She was right next to me one second playing with my nephew and out the door in the road the next.[…]”
“This is so very real and scary,” Debra Munkers Borton wrote. “I will never forget when my son was that age and disappeared from our front porch just in a flash of a second.”
Both the sheriff's office and local residents expressed gratitude towards Gautney's actions.
"As a parent with two children with Autism that wander it is a blessing knowing that you are out there [...]" Claudia Engelsman-Wenzel wrote.
“We are very thankful for Deputy Gautney’s alertness and quick action that allow for this child’s safe return to his parents,” Landers said.