Toddler wanders into traffic twice in 2 weeks

Posted at 10:39 PM, Mar 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-07 23:20:18-05

An Elyria father is charged with child endangering after police said his 3-year-old daughter wandered into traffic twice in two weeks.

According to police, Chris Peterson told officers he was doing housework when his toddler wandered off around 2:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

She was walking in the middle of West River Rd. in Elyria, a busy four-lane stretch, when Amanda Gamache spotted her.

“She was crying, she was very afraid,” Gamache said. “It’s a miracle she didn’t get hit. Just one person texting, not paying attention, and she’d be gone.”

Gamache, a mother of 3, said her mom instincts kicked in so she threw her car in park and jumped out. That’s when the toddler, clutching a red teddy bear, ran into her arms.

“I said, ‘come here baby!’ and she came running to me, threw her arms around my neck,” Gamache said. Since she didn’t want to be in the middle of the road, Gamache said she immediately buckled the little girl into her own 3-year-old daughter’s car seat, pulled over and called police.

Officers and the girl’s frantic father arrived at the same time, she said.

“Dad was freaking out,” Gamache said. “He said he was cooking, he turned around and the door was open and she was gone. He said, ‘You know, we’ve got all the locks in place, I don’t know what happened.’”

It was nearly the same scenario with the same family just two weeks earlier, on Feb. 23.

Once again, the little girl got out and wandered about a quarter-mile through traffic, this time around 11 p.m.

Elyria Police got a 911 call from a Planet Fitness employee who told them that a little girl was wandering through the gym and they couldn’t find her parents.

In that instance, her dad Chris Peterson told officers the family had just moved into the apartment off West River Road and the place wasn’t properly secured. Police checked the home and found the living conditions to be fine and did not find any criminal negligence.

Lorain County Children’s Services said they have been working with the family since the first incident to make sure the girl stays safe and parents are informed of ways to keep the home secure. reached out to the family, but they said they had no comment except that the girl was safe.

Peterson was issued a summons to appear in court Wednesday on the child endangering charge.