The baby boy's mother was found shopping at ROSS and was issued a $250 ticket
An Oklahoma toddler is safe after being left alone in a locked, hot car on a summer day — and he has a 12-year-old good samaritan to thank.
Ben Theriot was hailed a hero by Tulsa police on Tuesday after he broke into the car with a ratchet strap and pulled the 2-year-old boy to safety, Fox News reported.
The heat index that day was 116 degrees, according to local affiliate Fox23.
“Within minutes, that child could have passed out and became ill from a heat injury. Time was of the essence in that situation,” Officer Jeanne Pierce told News on 6. “We’d rather have a broken windshield than a child death. Any individual wouldn’t be in trouble with us in that situation because they saved the life of that child.”
Theriot was on the way to buy shoes with his mom Nikki Fields at a local shopping center when he heard the screams of the toddler coming from the backseat of a nearby vehicle in the parking lot.
As Fields got on the phone for help, Theriot grabbed a ratchet strap in his mom’s car to free the child.
“I started hitting the side window, didn’t bust, bent it pretty badly,” he recalled to Fox-23.
Eventually, an employee from a nearby store brought out a part of a clothing rack, which he used on the car’s front windshield before crawling inside to unlock the car.
“I swung it over my shoulder, hit it right in the center,” Theirot recalled. “And then I hit it a couple more times and then I climbed on the windshield. I stomped on it and then it cracked pretty badly again. Then, the lady went and grabbed that hanger thing and then I put the hook into the windshield and pulled it out. And then I unlocked it.”
Authorities soon arrived on the scene to help. The toddler was described by authorities to Fox-23 as red-faced and upset. He did not have to go to the hospital.
The baby boy’s mother was found shopping at ROSS and issued a $250 ticket for the Forget Me Not Safety Ordinance, News on 6 reported. Police did not arrest the mother because the baby wasn’t hurt and there was not a strong enough case for child neglect, they told the outlet.
She was said to have told police the incident was an accident and that another adult was supposed to be in the car when she went inside, Fox-23 reported.
Meanwhile, Fields is just happy her son jumped into action. “I’m just very proud of him,” she told Fox-23. “I’m glad he knew what to do.”
“I didn’t think any of this was going to happen,” Theriot added to the station. “I thought I was just going to go to ROSS and just buy some shoes or something.”