LA VERGNE - A four-year-old Antioch boy was reunited with his parents Thursday evening, Oct. 18 after spending hours at the La Vergne Police Department following what police are calling a mistake by a carpool driver.
The boy had been sleeping in the back seat of a carpool van when he woke up just as the last child was picked up on Hectare Lane.
He told police he spotted a bicycle and slipped unseen out the sliding door of the 10-passenger van to get a closer look. The van drove away without him.
Two students on their way to La Vergne High School noticed the small child in the street by himself and stopped to help. They took him to the nearest “safe place,” Fire Station 3 on Bill Stewart Boulevard where the police were called.
“It is a blessing this boy was found,” said Police Chief Mike Walker. “These teenagers showed a lot of maturity and compassion when they took care of him. They took it upon themselves to protect that little boy. They really stepped up and I am proud of them.”
Officers and dispatchers of the La Vergne Police Department, the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office, and workers from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services did exhaustive investigative work to identify where the boy belonged; however, it was when the carpool driver returned to the preschool that afternoon to pick up the child that his family was found.
When the driver discovered the boy had never been dropped off, he notified the parents and Nashville Metro Police.
Dispatchers between La Vergne and Nashville connected the two cases and the boy was successfully reunited with his parents after about 10 hours under guardianship of the police.
“The driver showed sincere remorse so no charges have been filed at this time, although we are investigating,” said Patrolman Ken Atkin. “I am impressed that these teenagers had the presence of mind to stop after noticing the child was alone and they took him to a safe place.”
The teenagers will be recognized by the City of La Vergne on November 20, 2012. They will be presented with the “Chief’s Citizen Service Award” by Police Chief Walker.
Walker said even though others were stressed because they could not determine the identity of the little boy or his parents, the little fellow was doing fine.
“During his long visit with La Vergne police officers," Walker said, "he was treated to chicken nuggets, pizza, cartoons, and toy trucks. He had a really fun visit, thanks to some really good officers!”