ST. GEORGE – Thanks to quick action on the part of a passing stranger, a young boy’s life may well have been saved Wednesday. After being dropped off at school by his mother just before noon, the first-grader had a panic attack and ran away from his school – trying to get home to his parents – but ended up in the middle of a busy street with cars swerving around him.
Anissa Tabor was returning her 7-year-old son, Kellan, to East Elementary, 453 S. 600 East, following an incident that morning that required her to pick him up and take him home.
Kellan has severe attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD. If he can’t see anyone familiar, he can have a panic attack, Tabor said.
Kellan went into the school but could not find his class and came running back out; Tabor told her son to go in and check with the office to find out where his class was.
Tabor had just left the school when she received a call from school officials saying they could not find Kellan and were going to call the police; a parent had seen the boy running from the school towards the college.
The boy ended up on 700 South and 900 East under the freeway overpass, Tabor said.
“He was in the road, waving at people, trying to flag them down, and no one would stop for him,” Tabor said.
Luckily, 25-year-old Lexie Parkinson was driving west on 700 South and spotted the child.
“When I’m driving under the overpass, I see this little boy in the middle of the road, crying, trying to wave someone down, but no one was stopping for this little kid,” Parkinson said. She kept driving but watched in her rearview mirror to see if someone would stop to help.
“Cars were dodging him, like going around him, I could not believe no one would stop for this little boy,” she said.
“Finally, I just turned around … and in the process hit the curb and kind of damaged my car a little bit,” Parkinson said. She stopped in the middle of the road and scooped up the little boy.
“It was scary just stopping traffic dead center on 700 (South), in the afternoon when it was busy,” Parkinson said.
Parkinson put the boy in her car and tried to ask Kellan if he was all right, but the boy couldn’t tell her anything; instead he just kept saying he needed to find his mother. Parkinson waved down a passing police officer, who took the child.
Parkinson has a 4-year-old son and is pregnant with her second child and was imagining how she would feel if it was her child in the road.
Officers returned Kellan to Tabor, who took him home and calmed him down. Later that day, Tabor wrote about the incident on a local Facebook yard sale page, hoping to get in touch with the person who had helped her son.
“She messaged on the post, and we met her for dinner because we wanted to thank her,” Tabor said. “If it wasn’t for her, somebody could have hit and killed our son. He was in full panic mode, thinking ‘I’ve just got to get home.'”
The experience changed Parkinson’s outlook on life. She had been at an appointment at Stevens-Henager College and had not received good news. She was upset and mentally beating herself up, she said, but the incident with Kellan put things in perspective for her.
“After that happened, I’m just grateful,” she said. “I’m grateful my car wasn’t severely damaged, I mean, my car’s still good and so I’m just grateful that kid didn’t get hurt.”
Parkinson is impressed at how quickly the school and police responded to the situation.
St. George Police received the call at 11:44 a.m., St. George Police Officer Lona Trombley said, and the first officer was on scene by 11:45 a.m. At 11:46 a.m., an officer was with the child.
“These are what we consider high-priority calls,” Trombley said, “so officers get on scene pretty quickly.”
Any officer not tied up with a high-priority call will respond, especially if a child has run from a school or been seen on their own.
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