Naperville, IL – A heroic police sergeant rushed onto a busy roadway to save a runaway toddler who was just feet from being in front of a moving car a car (video below).
The incident occurred in May, when Naperville Police Sergeant Anthony Mannino was patrolling on Route 59, the department said in a Facebook post on Monday.
“At first I thought it was a dog,” Sgt. Mannino said of the figure he saw running across a turning lane, according to the Naperville Sun.
As he got closer, he realized that it was a toddler – and that he was alone.
“Trying to corral a one-year-old boy running across 59,” the sergeant radioed, as he blocked the far-right lane of the roadway with his patrol vehicle.
“This situation was very fluid. There were obviously a lot of concerns,” Sgt. Mannino told FOX & Friends on Tuesday morning. “My goal initially was blocking that lane of traffic, activating my emergency lights, getting out of the squad car, and trying to corral that kid.”
“Hey! Hey!” the sergeant yelled after the boy, as the child made his way from the turning lane and into the far right traveling lane of the busy roadway.
A semi flew by the toddler while Sgt. Mannino rushed to catch up.
“At one moment, he looks like he’s about to make a left, where all that traffic is going,” the sergeant told FOX & Friends. “And once I saw that it did raise that sense of urgency even more.”
But when he shouted to the boy, the child actually began running further away “to a full sprint,” Sgt. Mannino explained.
Sgt. Mannino ultimately reached the child on the opposite side of an intersection.
“You’re okay, you’re okay,” he reassured the boy, as he scooped him up and took him back to the safety of his patrol car.
Investigators learned that the toddler lived within a couple of blocks of the scene, and said he “escaped his mother’s watchful eye” just minutes before Sgt. Mannino spotted him, the Naperville Patch reported.
The frenzied woman rushed outside to find her son, and soon saw flashing emergency lights on the busy roadway.
She ran towards the officers and was “overwhelmed by emotion” when she realized her baby was safe, Sgt. Mannino told FOX & Friends.
“Luckily, no one was hurt, and we attribute that to Sgt. Mannino's observation while on patrol and quick reaction,” the Naperville Police Department said in the post. “On June 7, Sgt. Mannino was presented the department’s Life Saving Award. Well done, Sergeant.”
You can watch dashcam footage of the hero in action in the video below: