HAGERSTOWN, Md. – A prison work crew baby-sat a 21/2-year-old boy
who was spotted Friday running along the centre lines of a rural
Maryland highway, with trucks loaded with gravel rumbling by, police
and correctional officials said.
The six minimum-security
inmates shared their lunches with the toddler, who apparently wandered
away from home, and played with him while authorities located the
parents and investigated, said Correctional Officer Gary Kershner, who
was overseeing the prisoners.
"Me and my inmate crew, we just
kind of baby-sat for the next three hours," Kershner said. "They were
as much entertained by the child as he was by them.''
was on Route 550 about two miles south of Woodsboro, not far from the
Pennsylvania line, when a dump truck driver stopped to pluck him off
the road shortly after 9 a.m., said Trooper First Class David
Greenwood, who was at the scene.
Kershner, who had stopped his
van to help, said the truck driver handed the boy to him for
safekeeping until police arrived. A State Highway Administration truck
driver accompanying the litter-picking crew also stayed on the scene,
agency spokesman Charles Gischlar said.
found the boy's home nearby, Greenwood said. He said the child was
reunited with his family after Child Protective Services investigated
and found no immediate cause to suspect abuse or neglect.
boy's father, who works at home, told police he had left the child in
the care of an 18-year-old daughter, who then left without notice,
Greenwood said. State police were conducting their own investigation
and would report their findings to Frederick County prosecutors for
possible charges, Lt. Michael J. Brady said.
Kershner, 52, of
Smithsburg, said the hilly road is treacherous due to traffic from dump
trucks going to and from a nearby quarry.
"You're taking your life in your hands to be an adult walking along that road," he said.