ELTOPIA — A 4-year-old boy who wandered away from his aunt's house near Eltopia, crawled under a barbed wire fence and crossed four lanes of Highway 395 is home safe with his family thanks to a trucker who looked a little like Santa Claus.
The boy got about a mile away while his aunt was taking a shower, but other than some scrapes on his hands and cuts on his pants, he was found and kept safe by a passing truck driver, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Robert Lamay.
"God was watching over this little guy," Lamay said. "It could have been pretty bad."
It was about 2 p.m. Tuesday when the boy, wearing jeans and a red shirt, was found walking on the highway. There was heavy truck and other vehicle traffic and low spots in the median, so some drivers didn't even see him, Lamay said.
Fortunately, Dan Barton of Portland, who drives for KKW Trucking in Pomona, Calif., spotted him. Barton had picked up a load of paper Tuesday morning in Usk, about 50 miles north of Spokane, and was heading to Marysville, Calif.
He was going south on Highway 395 about a mile south of the Eltopia exit when traffic suddenly stopped and Barton couldn't figure out why.
"I looked to my left and saw this little boy running in the median away from traffic," Barton told the Herald. "I opened my door and kind of waved him over to me. I didn't expect it, I thought he'd just run past me, but he stopped. I picked him up and put him in the truck to just get him out of the danger -- out of the traffic."
Then everybody drove off and Barton was left on the side of the road with a little kid.
"It was a very strange experience," he said.
The boy, who spoke only Spanish, told Barton he was 4 -- almost 5 -- but when Barton asked where his mother was, Barton couldn't understand the answer... Continue reading.