'It could have been really bad': Motorists help rescue two toddlers playing with toy shovel along Ill. 104

Annette Bruns
Posted: Apr. 5, 2013 1:03 pm Updated: Nov. 28, 2014 8:16 pm

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Two small boys found playing unattended on Ill. 104 late Friday morning were rescued by passing motorists, and they later were transferred to the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services.

Annette Bruns, a salesperson with Shottenkirk Toyota, said she was with a customer from Missouri who was driving east on Ill. 104 test-driving a truck at about 11 a.m. when they saw the boys near a grassy area on the south side of the highway, about 20 feet east of the entrance of the Royal Oaks Mobile Home Park, 6800 Broadway.

Bruns said the oldest boy had nothing on but a diaper, and the youngest boy was wearing zip-up pajamas with footies over his diaper.

Sgt. Dale Holt with the Adams County Sheriff's Department said the boys are brothers.

"One of them had a plastic snow shovel, banging it on the curb, and he was standing on Broadway in the lane of traffic closest to the curb," Bruns said.

Bruns said the customer moved to the left eastbound lane, parked the car and turned on the hazard lights. A woman pulled up in the right eastbound lane and stopped her car, as well.

"I jumped out, and I don't remember which one I grabbed first, but the other one thought it was a game and took off running," Bruns said. "I was wearing a bright red jacket, and I'm sure I was making enough of a commotion out there that all of the traffic was stopping both ways."

Bruns corralled the two boys and kept them in the grassy area on the south side of Ill. 104, and the woman whose car was blocking the second lane of eastbound traffic called 911. Kevin Douglas, a sheriff's department deputy, arrived on the scene about 10 minutes later, and he asked Bruns to keep an eye on the children while he scanned the mobile home park to find their parents.

Deputies said it took nearly an hour to locate the parents.

The ages of the children have not been disclosed.

"They were absolutely darling," Bruns said. "They were cute, but they were filthy."

The other woman helping at the scene retrieved a blanket from her car for the boy wearing nothing but a diaper. Bruns called for a van used to shuttle customers at Shottenkirk Toyota to come to the scene, and the boys played inside for a while.

"They were just as content as could be," she said. "I tried to get them to play with me and asked the oldest boy his name, and he just laughed. They weren't scared of us. They were just happy little kids."

Investigators were on the scene for about an hour before the parents were found. The kids had been momentarily taken from the scene in a sheriff's department squad car when the parents arrived.

"The parents came up to us," Holt said. "Their father said he had looked around and couldn't find them, and when he came outside, he didn't even know (law enforcement was) there."

Holt said the parents of the children do not live in the mobile home park but were staying with a family that owns a home in the northern section of park.

No arrests have been made. Holt said the investigation has been turned over to DCFS.

"I didn't do anything that anyone else wouldn't have done," Bruns said. "When I think back about it, my heart is still pounding.

"Can you imagine? These kids were babies. It could have been really bad."


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