A rookie Plano police officer is being hailed as a hero after he saved a boy with autism found running in a busy street.
Officer Jacob Evans, 29, has been with the Plano Police Department for a little more than two years and was on his way to grab some coffee July 7 when he was called into action.
"Initially, I was frustrated the traffic was stopping," Evans said. "All of the sudden, all these cars had stopped and I was like, 'What is going on?'"
Evans then noticed a young boy running down the other side of the street.
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"I'd never seen anything like that before," Evans said. "I wasn't exactly sure what I was going to do. I turned on the lights to tell everybody what was going on and hopefully try to keep people from passing me."
Evans talked with the boy, who he later learned was 8 years old and suffers from autism, over a loud speaker.
"I believe I kept telling him, I think I said, 'Come here little buddy,' something like that. And I think maybe I told him it was OK, you know. 'Get out of the road. Come here little buddy.' I kept saying that over and over to him," Evans said.
The boy kept running and darted into a nearby shopping center.
"I was really afraid that he was going to dart back out to the left side of the roadway, because I couldn't block all the lanes at the same time. I didn't know which way he was going to go," Evans said.
Evans was able to jump out of his patrol car and catch the boy before he ran back into traffic. He said the boy struggled with him a bit, but it wasn't more than 5 to 10 seconds before his grandfather arrived.
The man told police he was in the kitchen making dinner and a baby sitter was watching the boy when he heard the front door slam. By the time the grandfather made it outside, the boy was already running down the street.
Evans gave the boy and his grandfather a ride home.
The boy's mother posted a message of thanks for Officer Evans to the Plano Police Department Facebook page:
"Thank you Officer Evans for helping to save my child! This day will forever be the worst day of our lives and you made us believe that there are still good people in this world. Thank you to everyone who understands and to those who have nothing but hurtful things to say, you're blessed to not have to carry this with you."