WEST BEND, Wis. — A 5-year-old Wisconsin boy is safe and warm at home after a quick-thinking snowplow driver plucked him from a West Bend roadway at around 4 a.m. Feb. 12.
Sixty-one-year-old David Gehrke, a part-time plow driver for the city, told the Washington County Insider that he thought he caught a glimpse of a deer or a dog while preparing to run his early-morning route, but the figure turned out to be a shoeless boy in footie pajamas.
“I asked him what he is doing out here, and he said he wanted to go see Grandpa,” Gehrke told the newspaper, noting the temperature was hovering at minus-five degrees, so he quickly wrapped the boy in his jacket and sat him in the truck with the heat blasting.
“I mean the kid would have froze to death if I hadn’t seen him. I checked him out. His hands were tucked in his jammies, and his feet were cold but not frostbit. He was a happy kid. He couldn’t tell me where Grandpa lived, but he had a lot of questions about the truck,” he added.
Responding officers placed the boy, who has since been identified as Maddox Pierce, in the back of their cruiser and drove him home, about a block away. Pierce reportedly told officers that he was scared, thought he was home alone and left the house en route to his grandfather’s home, WISN reported.
According to the TV station, Pierce’s 14-year-old aunt had been babysitting him while his mother, Brittany Weissenburger, was at work.
“I’m so thankful. Like, what are the odds (Gehrke) would find him at that exact moment that he pretty much came outside?” Weissenburger told WISN. “He just exited our townhouse, walked down the road a little bit, and he was found.”
Pierce sustained no injuries, and police determine no crime occurred, the TV station reported.