Anyone who has cared for a very young child knows that toddlers are impulsive. They do not readily recognize danger and rely on the adults around them to keep them safe.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unintentional injuries — drowning, road traffic, burns, poisoning and other preventable accidents — are the leading cause of death in children in the United States.
As parents and caregivers, we do our best to childproof our lives in order to protect the little ones we love.
But there is only so much a parent can do — even the most attentive of people simply cannot fix their gaze on a busy toddler 100 percent of the time.
It takes a village to raise a child, and thankfully, one Michigan state police sergeant was in the right place at the right time when a toddler slipped away from her mother and wandered out onto a rural road.
Michigan State Police released dashcam footage of the moment Sgt. Joseph Richards recognized that the young girl was in danger of being hit by an oncoming dump truck.
“Sgt. Richards from the Alpena Post was on patrol Friday when this happened: A 2-year-old girl was nearly struck by a passing dump-truck,” the police department wrote on Twitter.
The related news release is attached here… pic.twitter.com/tid6Egi9ec
— @MSPNorthernMI (@mspnorthernmi) May 29, 2019
The video shows that the tot was wandering along the side of the road, oblivious to fact that she was in harm’s way.
After Richards drove toward the girl in his patrol car, she turned and headed back into the middle of the road.
Richards had noticed what the child had not: A massive red dump truck was driving down the road as the child unknowingly inched into its path.
Richards jumped out of his car and could be heard urgently telling the girl to stop.
He scooped the girl up and yanked her off the roadway as the driver of the truck tried desperately to slam on the brakes and stop before it was too late.
“If not for Sgt. Richards quick action, this incident would have ended in tragedy,” the police department released in a statement.
Richards could be heard speaking to a woman, presumably the toddler’s mother, who ran out in horror to meet him after seeing what had just happened.
She explained that she had lost track of her daughter for just a moment — and that was all it took for the girl to impulsively cross the road.
Thanks to Richards’ commitment to protecting and serving his community, the child was not harmed and was soon safely back in her mother’s arms. Hopefully the little one will stay out of the road from now on.
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