Hot Summer Days
When summer approaches, the temperature rises. It is not uncommon for the temperature to reach 100 degrees on any given day. When it is this hot outside, the temperature in a car can reach 180 degrees or higher. This is why citizens are warned all the time not to leave children or pets in a hot car unattended. Unfortunately, there are people who don’t listen to this advice, and they put their children and their pets at considerable risk.
Steve Eckel is a retired Middlesex County Sherrif’s Office Sergeant. He spent many years protecting the people in his community. He is also a family man. He has five beautiful daughters that he would give his life for. When it came time for him to retire, he was ready. What Steve found out one summer day is that his need to help others never goes away, even in retirement. On this day, he was a hero.
A Baby’s Cry
Steve left the house one day to go shopping. It was supposed to be a typical day at the store. He had no idea that he was going to need to save a life. He thought his life-saving days were behind him since he was now retired. When he got out of his car, he could hear a baby screaming. At first, he thought that a mother was struggling to get her child to calm down. Thanks to his sheriff’s office training and his instincts, he decided to check things out. He is incredibly thankful that he did. He heard the cry and followed the direction where it was coming from. When he found the car, he discovered that there was a baby inside all alone.
A Very Hot Day
Steve says that on the day he went shopping, that it was very hot outside. He estimates that with the heat index, it had felt like 120 degrees outside, which meant that it must have been close to 200 degrees in the car that the baby was in. She was strapped in her car seat, screaming. Steve knew that the baby was screaming because of the hot temperatures in the car. Knowing how dangerous high temperatures like these can be for anyone, he knew that he had to act fast.
A Sledge Hammer
When Steve got to the car, he immediately tried to open the car doors, but they were all locked. Fortunately, he remembered that he had a sledgehammer in his truck. He had let a friend borrow it for a renovation project, and Steve went to pick it up. He put it in his trunk, and he forgot all about it. When the baby was trapped in the car, he remembered that it was in his trunk. Even though he was wearing flipflops, he still ran as fast as he could through the parking lot. Steve didn’t know how long the baby was in the car, and he knew that he couldn’t take his time. This baby needed help immediately.
Saving the Baby
When Steve got to the vehicle, he used the sledgehammer to smash the driver’s side window. The baby was in the backseat on the passenger side, so Steve knew that breaking the driver’s side window would put that baby at the least risk. With just one hit of the sledgehammer, the window smashed. Steve quickly unlocked the doors and ran to the other side of the car to get the baby out. When he picked her up, he realized that she couldn’t have been more than 4-months-old. The baby’s skin was very hot, and she was covered in sweat. Her eyes were rolling in the back of her head. Steve immediately called 911. He knew that the baby needed medical help quickly.
40 Minutes Later
The EMT’s arrived on the scene, and Steve stayed with the baby. About 40 minutes after Steve noticed the baby, the mother came out of the store. She looked shocked to see the huge crowd around her car, and her driver’s side window smashed. Steve told her that he saved her baby from dying in the car, and the police officers on the scene put her in handcuffs.
The baby’s mother was placed in handcuffs, and she was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Steve couldn’t believe that this mother would go shopping for over 40 minutes without thinking of her baby’s safety. As the EMT’s were working on the baby, and the mother was being arrested, Steve’s eyes began welling up with tears. He kept thinking about what would have happened to this baby if he didn’t show up when he did.
Living With Dad
When the mother was arrested, the police got in contact with the baby’s father. The couple was no longer together, so the police released the baby into his custody. The mother would need to answer for what she did to the police, and child protective services didn’t want her to have any contact with her daughter. She was placed with her father, where they were sure that she would be safe.
When Steve spoke with the local news about his heroic actions, he told the reporter that he believes in guardian angels, and he is sure that he was this baby’s guardian angel. Retired police officer hears cries of baby trapped in hot car – uses a sledgehammer to smash the window, and he saved her life.