Oregon deputy finds 2-year-old running on highway

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An alert Lincoln County deputy rescued a 2-year-old boy who was running on Highway 101 outside Newport on January 9.

Deputy Jeremy Gautney was headed south on Highway 101 on his regular patrol.

“I was shocked because I thought it was like an animal at first, and then I noticed it was a child,” Deputy Jeremy Gautney told KOIN 6 News Thursday. “I guess I was shocked there was a child in the middle of that highway. It’s like the main highway for the Oregon coast.”

The deputy driving noticed the boy running in his lane and quickly stopped to rescue him.

His frantic parents were nearby searching for him. They had been cleaning up after a gathering at a nearby community center when the boy ran out the door and onto the highway.

The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office released the dashcam video in an effort to remind drivers to be alert at all times. They urge drivers to refrain from texting and using cellphones while driving.

“It sure opened my eyes,” the deputy said.

No criminal charges were filed against the parents.

Dr. Ben Hoffman said he’s very glad things turned out well in this case, but he’s not surprised a 2-year-old did something like this.

“Knowing 2-year-olds, this is kind of what they do,” said Hoffman, the medical director for the OHSU Doernbecher Tom Sargent Safety Center. “They’re impulsive they’re mobile, they’re curious and they’re fast and things happen very quickly.”

He tells parents to think about the 10-second rule when child-proofing their home.

“If there’s something that a child can get their hands on or something they can do within 3 to 10 seconds they’re going to get their hands on it and do it,” he said.

Parents “have to be as vigilant as you possibly can.”

The one good thing that may come out of this incident and video is a reminder for parents of what 2-year-olds can do.

“A little tickle in the back of their brain with an impulsive toddler just to be that much more careful so this doesn’t happen to anybody else,” Hoffman said.

“As a parent we all have stories that ‘There but for the grace of God,’ where, hopefully, we dodged something bad happening.”

>>Our sister station KOIN first reported this story

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