A 1-year-old baby boy was abandoned on the side of a busy road in New Orleans after his mother’s SUV was carjacked at a gas station.
The infant was miraculously found unharmed sitting near the Almonaster Boulevard overpass late Wednesday morning.
Motorist Brian Stewart told the station WDSU he was headed to a landfill when he spotted what he initially mistook for “an object” or a “baby doll” on the side of the road.
“As I got closer I realized that was a real person there,” Stewart said. “I pulled to the side of the road. Walked back. The baby started kinda crawling toward me. I called 911.”
Police rescued the tot and later arrested the suspected carjacker, 21-year-old Johnathon Perkins, in New Orleans. He now faces charges of auto theft, aggravated kidnapping of a child and illegal possession of stolen property.
According to law enforcement officials, Perkins was at Chevron gas station in Chalmette, Louisiana, at around 11 a.m. on Wednesday when he spotted a woman fueling up her white Subaru Outback.
Unbeknownst to the suspect, the female driver’s 1-year-old son was napping in his car seat in the back.
“I think he picked the wrong place and the wrong car to steal here in St. Bernard Parish,” Sheriff Jimmy Pohlmann told WWLTV.
The sheriff added that the woman momentarily left her SUV running with her son still inside to get change from the cashier. When she came back out, she found her vehicle missing.
Surveillance video from the area showed a man in an orange construction vest — later identified as Perkins — walking towards the woman’s Subaru, getting into the driver’s seat and driving away.
A woman who works at a nearby casino told the station that when the mother discovered that her car with her son inside was gone, she became hysterical.
The sheriff said that after making his getaway, Perkins drove down Paris Road and over a bridge into New Orleans, where he ditched the stolen vehicle after dumping the baby by the side of the road.
It’s an event that could have turned out really bad for the one-year-old being left on the interstate,” Sheriff Pohlmann said. “The baby could have crawled into a lane of traffic and could have been easily killed.”