Hero Truck Driver Rescues Toddler Wandering Alone Near Busy Roadwayby Jana Ritter - Published: 4/29/2017
- This story originally broke on the Riverside County News Source by reporter Trevor Montgomery. To read the initial article, click here. -
A California truck driver is being hailed a hero after spotting a little girl wandering alone on the side of a busy roadway and helping her find her way back home.
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On Thursday at around 4:30 p.m., truck driver Luis Navarro was just heading home after a day on the job when he spotted a little girl wandering by herself along the 34000 block of Gilman Springs Road in San Jacinto, CA. She looked to be about two to three years old, was partially clothed and seemed oblivious to the imminent danger of walking along the dirt shoulder of the busy roadway at rush hour. “I pulled over as fast as I could, flipped a U-Turn and went back. There was a lot of traffic and I was scared she might run from me right into traffic if I pulled up too close to her, so I pulled into a nearby driveway,” Navarro explains.
He approached the little girl and noticed she wearing only a pink shirt, panties and patent leather shoes on the wrong feet. He offered her his hand, which she readily took and allowed him to lead her away from the passing vehicles going at 55 miles per hour or faster. While his intentions were to just deliver her to safety, he realized other people might assume otherwise so he began recording the incident on Facebook live. "I didn't want somebody else being there or seeing that and assume I'm trying to take her or I'm going to do some harm to her." The nearly three-minute long post has been viewed more than a hundred thousand times and shows Navarro leading the girl by the hand, speaking to her in Spanish and trying to ask her questions about her family, her age and where she lives. The little girl isn’t able to provide him much answers and begins crying in distress.
WATCH VIDEO: Facebook Live
Navarro saw there was only one nearby home in the rural area and walked with her to the residence, hoping it belonged to her family. However, as they approached the property he said there was only an 18-wheel big-rig parked on a nearby street and the home and farm appeared to be abandoned. "I knocked on the door and there was no answer so I opened the door myself and I shouted out," Navarro says. Finally, a boy who appeared to be around 11-years-old came to the door and Navarro said it looked like he had just woken up. But what concerned Navarro even more was how casual the parents were when they came to the door and retrieved their missing child. He gave them some words of warning before leaving. "I was really pissed off. The fact that they act like it was normal, like it's happened before, it's okay. I told them that you got to watch them because once they're gone, they're gone and they won't come back.”
Still concerned for the girl’s safety, Navarro decided to notify authorities about the incident and suggested they pay a visit to the home. Riverside County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Sergeant Chris Durham later issued a public statement confirming that deputies responded to the residence to check on the child’s safety. “Investigators interviewed the found child’s parents and other siblings at the residence,” Durham says. “It appears the child exited the residence while her mother was tending to an infant sibling. He also said it is an active and ongoing investigation and “we are grateful for the quick actions of the passing motorist.”
Since then, Navarro’s video has gone viral and several media outlets have covered the story. “Some people are saying I was a hero or something,” Navarro says. “I’m no hero. I think any normal person in their right state of mind would have done the same thing. I just thank God He put me right there, just at that time, to do what was right.”