NAPERVILLE, IL (CNN/RNN) – An Illinois police sergeant received his department’s life-saving award after he chased down a toddler whom he found running all by himself in the right lane of a busy highway.
Sgt. Anthony Mannino, a 24-year veteran of the Naperville, IL, Police Department, is being called a hero for his actions last month.
The department posted dash cam video of the incident to Facebook and noted Mannino was presented Thursday with a live-saving service award.
When Mannino first saw the figure on the busy highway, he says he thought it was some kind of animal, according to WGN.
But as he drew closer, he realized it was a 1-year-old boy running along the highway’s right lane, just steps away from passing cars.
The sergeant pulled over and parked his squad car to block traffic in the lane. He then chased the boy down, even as the 1-year-old continued running.
At one point, a large truck can be seen passing within a few feet of the child at a high rate of speed.
“You’re OK. You’re OK,” said Mannino, when he caught up to the boy.
The officer then picked the child up, carrying him out of harm’s way.
Mannino alerted dispatch that he caught the boy and would begin the search for his parents, according to the Naperville Sun.
Authorities say no one was hurt in the incident.
“We attribute that to Sgt. Mannino's observation while on patrol and quick reaction, placing his squad car and himself between the child and traffic,” said the department on Facebook.
According to police, the toddler “escaped his mother’s watchful eye” and left his home.
The boy’s mother arrived moments after Mannino saved him, WGN reports. She told the officer he had made it about two blocks from their home.
No charges were filed, according to WGN. Police ruled the incident an accident.
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