Update: Daycare Under Investigation After Toddler Wanders on Highway

Posted at: 06/13/2013 1:27 PM
Updated at: 06/17/2013 11:06 AM
By: Alan Hoglund & Maarja Anderson

An investigation is underway and a daycare is closed after authorities say a 22-month-old girl was found walking in the traffic lane of State Highway 23 in Sandstone.

Pine County Sheriff's deputies responded at 3:39 Wednesday afternoon and found the girl in the arms of a Good Samaritan, according to the department.

That Good Samaritan was Jerrelyn Chose. She lives on Highway 23.

"I thought something was wrong so I came running out of the garden to see and the little girl ran into my arms," said Chose.

Chose said the little girl was running in the road when a semi-truck came barreling down.

"It was a big one, too. He wouldn't have saw her, she would have been too low," Chose said.

Chose grabbed the girl and immediately called 911.

Pine County Sheriff Robin Cole said the deputies canvassed the area looking for the child's home and located a daycare about one block from where she was found. They said the facility had a fenced play area with multiple children and the gate to the play area was open.

Deputies made contact with the daycare provider and determined the girl found on the highway was missing from the facility.

"When they contacted the daycare provider the daycare provider was apparently unaware that a child was missing. That's at least a half hour," said Sheriff Cole.

While talking with the daycare provider, authorities said they observed indications of intoxication, then performed field sobriety tests. A news release from county authorities does not include information about any test results.

"Her manner and things were emitting from her person that lead them to believe there were signs of intoxication," said Sheriff Cole.

Authorities said Pine County Child Protection arrived on scene and ordered the daycare closed. The parents of all children present were notified and retrieved their children before authorities cleared the scene.

Sandra Larson's 22-month-old daughter was at the daycare when the incident happened. Larson said she wants justice.

"I want something done about it. It's not right at all. It never should have happened, not with 10 children," said Larson.

This matter is under investigation and will be referred to the Pine County Attorney for charging review.

The daycare provider was not arrested, but Sheriff Cole said charges from the County Attorney are expected Friday.