City employee told wandering toddler to STOP

Posted at 6:55 PM, Mar 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-11 18:55:02-04

PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) -- The man who called 911 after seeing a three-year-old boy trying to cross a busy Petersburg street Monday said he told the child to stop.

West Washington Street, which intersects with Guarantee Street, is a major two-lane street that cuts through Petersburg.

"I am a parent as well as a grandparent -- and I couldn't see a kid standing that young by himself," Andy Severson told CBS 6 senior reporter Wayne Covil.

Severson, an inspector for the city, is credited with calling for help after officials said the toddler was dropped off at a house at the intersection of West Washington and Guarantee.

That's where the boy was supposed to walk up to the steps and go inside But as the Severson drove by, he  spotted the toddler.

"He was trying to actually cross the street,” Severson said. “I rolled my window down, told him to stop and he actually listened. I pulled my car over, got out and talked to him."

Severson did find out the boy was three years old, but could not glean any other useful information from the child. He said he did not see any other adult around, so he called the police.

"Can you send me a police officer to the corner of West Washington and guarantee?” Severson asked the 911 dispatcher. “There's a three-year-old boy standing here, trying to cross the road."

Petersburg Police and Social Services are investigating the case. A 21-year-old relative was charged with neglect and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

"The person that was charged was actually involved in transporting him to where he was going to be staying," Petersburg Police’s Esther Hyatt said.

The toddler is back home with his mother.