An Oregon woman raced across a highway to save a toddler from drowning in a canal, the Redmond Police Department said.
On July 7, a 2-year-old child fell into a canal and was rescued by a woman who had been driving on Highway 97, the department said in a statement. The woman saw the child’s father trying to flag down cars and saw the toddler run across the highway and fall into a canal.
The woman, later identified as Bailey Vardanega, pulled her car over, ran across four lanes of traffic to jump into the canal and saved the child from drowning, KTVZ/CNN reported.
“My legs were faster than I’ve ever run, and I swam more aggressive than I ever swam,” Vardanega told KTVZ. “God’s in control. He had me in the right place at the right time, and I allowed him to use my body as he needed.”
The child was taken to Redmond St. Charles for medical evaluation and was released, the department said.
Police said Jodie Ewing, 51, is the child’s grandmother and was babysitting at the time. She didn’t notice that the toddler had gone missing from the home on the opposite side of the highway from the canal. The child’s father was walking home when he saw his son running on the highway, according to the police.
Ewing was cited for child neglect and the case has been referred to the District Attorney’s Office and Department of Human Services, police said.
It’s illegal in Oregon to leave a child under the age of 10 unattended “in or at any place for such period of time as may be likely to endanger the health or welfare of such child.”
Vardanega, who is a mother of two, told KTVZ: “You don’t think twice on those things. It’s not what we’re supposed to do. We’re supposed to help one another, especially the innocent that don’t know. That’s what we’re supposed to do.”