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Ex-con spots a baby crawling along a busy highway and slams his brakes
Bryant says he's been in a lot of bad situations in his life, but when he saw the baby crawling on the highway he thought his eyes were playing tricks on him.
Sasha Alonzo
10.20.21

As humans we make mistakes – and sometimes those mistakes stay with us longer than others.

After spending a decade in federal prison for manufacturing cocaine, Bryant Collins received a second chance at life when he was released. The ex-con fully intended to make the most of it.

He had been out of prison and drug-free for five years when life threw him a huge curveball.

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YouTube/11Alive

To act or not to act

Bryant could react to a dangerous incident unfolding before him. Or he could drive on by and ignore it.

“I’ve been in a lot of bad situations. When I was in prison, I made a very conscientious effort to change, and I did.”

YouTube/11Alive
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YouTube/11Alive

Bryant had landed a job as an auto repairman and was traveling along busy Highway 72. He was just driving along, minding his own business when he spied movement out of the corner of his eye.

The craziest sight

He swiveled his head and saw a toddler crawling right alongside the highway! He couldn’t believe what he was seeing!

YouTube/11Alive
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YouTube/11Alive

A baby girl

As traffic zoomed by, the 15-month-old girl kept wandering around! She was in a life-or-death situation and it was to Bryant to save her.

“I thought it was a baby. “I just stopped and, when I got out, there was a baby … almost in the highway.”

YouTube/aaAlive
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YouTube/aaAlive

Bryant had seen some crazy things in his life, but this one stunned him. Why? How? There was no time to think though.

“What the (heck) is going on? A baby?”

YouTube/11Alive
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YouTube/11Alive

Calling for help

In complete disbelief, Bryant hustled toward the little girl, scooped her up and called 911. She was crying hysterically, so Bryant calmed her with the very thing that soothes his soul – he played gospel music on his phone for her.

“I turned my phone on and let her listen to some music and she calmed right down. I know gospel music calms me down.”

YouTube/11Alive
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YouTube/11Alive

Standing by to protect her for two hours

For two long hours, Bryant entertained the wee one while emergency personnel navigated their way down Highway 72. Officers investigating the incident eventually learned that she had been left in the care of siblings ages 13, 9 and 5 who lost track of her while babysitting.

The parents were reportedly in the backyard.

She’d traveled quite a long distance

When they retraced her steps, they couldn’t believe how far she actually had traveled.

Flickr/Hannes Flo
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Flickr/Hannes Flo

A miracle

Madison County Sheriff Kip Thomas said the little girl crawled 300 yards – almost a quarter-mile – through dense woods, down an embankment and onto the shoulder of the road.

“Honestly that’s almost a miracle: that a 15-month-old can go that far from her house, into the woods, fall down an embankment, wind up near a major highway and really not get hurt that bad.”

YouTube/11Alive
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YouTube/11Alive

Aside from sustaining superficial injuries, the girl managed to make it out of the harrowing ordeal alive. She definitely had someone watching over her.

Bryant believes he was in the right place at the right time to rescue the curly-haired strawberry blonde.

It was his chance to prove himself and bring something wonderful into the world.

“It made me feel good that I could be in society and do good. Just as well as you can do bad, you can do good, you know?”

YouTube/11Alive
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YouTube/11Alive

When officers arrived to investigate the situation, her father Timothy Pickens, 37, showed up at the scene and tried pushing past police officers. He was arrested on the scene. Her mother Molly Denise Pickens, 31, eventually was arrested, too.

Charges of reckless conduct and cruelty to children eventually were dismissed against the parents.

YouTube/11Alive
Source:
YouTube/11Alive

Regardless, Bryant was just glad he could be there to help. Some day when she’s old enough to understand the brevity of what unfolded along Highway 72, little Miss Pickens will be grateful Bryant stopped, too.

Learn more about this wild story in the video below. We are thankful Bryant was there to rescue the little girl and keep her safe.

Please SHARE this with your friends and family.

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By Sasha Alonzo
hi@sbly.com
Sasha Alonzo is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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