Bus driver stops child from walking into traffic

A TriMet bus (KOIN 6 News, file)
A TriMet bus (KOIN 6 News, file)

GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A TriMet bus operator says he is “no hero” and “did what anyone should do” when he stopped his bus to prevent a toddler from wandering onto a busy street.

TriMet bus operator Bill Clark was driving a Line 20 bus westbound on NE Division Street in Gresham around 8:15 a.m. last Friday when he saw a small child walking in the middle of Linden Avenue and heading straight for Division, according to TriMet officials.

Clark stopped his bus after not seeing any adults in the area and stayed with the boy until police arrived.

Gresham police said the child was only wearing a diaper and T-shirt at the time but was in good health other than having dirty feet and needing a diaper change.

Gresham police and TriMet officers could not locate the boy’s family, so a social worker from Gresham’s Department of Human Services (DHS) office came to the scene and took temporary custody of the child.

About two hours later, police said the manager of the nearby Linden Place Apartments called 911 after a tenant said his son was missing.

Officers later learned the father had worked a late shift and was asleep when the boy left the apartment without his knowledge. The boy’s mother had left for work earlier in the morning.

DHS workers returned the toddler to his parents and instructed them to install child locks to keep the boy from getting out again.

Transit Police Officer Craig Wellhouser contacted Clark to tell him about the happy ending and later wrote in his incident report that “the outcome of this case was positive and not a ‘small child is hit by a vehicle’ case because he was aware of his surroundings and cared enough to stop and help.”

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