A hero driver rescued a baby dumped in a car seat in the middle of the road by his mother, a court heard.
Brave Alex Wilson, 21, was driving at night when he spotted what looked like an empty baby carrier at a junction – with no sign of the child’s parents.
On closer inspection, Alex spotted a foot protruding from the seat and turned his car around to go to the rescue of the tot, York Crown Court heard.
Alex has been commended by a judge for his heroic actions which saved the life of the six-month-old baby.
The baby’s mum had left the child in the street and later admitted abandoning a child causing the life of the child to be endangered.
Reacting to the shocking incident, Alex, a joiner from Ripon, North Yorks., said: “It is not everyday you come across a baby in the road.
“I am just grateful I spotted it because the carrier had been left slap-bang in the middle of the left lane, anybody could have hit it.
“You don’t just leave a baby in the middle of a road. I didn’t see any other cars pass by which is lucky.”
Despite initial fears it may be a criminal scam, Alex went to the little baby’s aid, prosecutor Danielle Gilmour told the court.
She said: “The carrier seat was positioned about 3ft into the road from the kerb.
“He said he would have had to react quite quickly to avoid running over the [baby’s] car seat [if he had not changed course].
“Assuming the carrier seat was empty, Mr Wilson and his brother, who was in the passenger seat, became aware there was something in [the baby carrier] and described seeing a foot protruding from the [baby seat].
“They thought it might be a scam to get car drivers out of their cars, but there was no-one else in the street or nearby.
“They became concerned about seeing the foot and made the decision to go back
“The carrier was still in the road.”
Mr Wilson parked his car near a fish-and-chip shop and made enquiries.
He and a shop worker went out into the road and it was then they discovered the baby, who appeared to be about six months’ old, sitting in the carrier in the road.
Alex said: “The only way I knew it was a real baby was the foot sticking out of the end of the carrier.
“It was absolutely freezing that night, it can’t have been anything above four degrees.”
The baby was only wearing an all-in-one suit despite the fact it was a cold November night with the temperature plummeting to just above freezing.
The baby was carried into the shop and the young mother was later traced.
Police found her “looking pale, unwell and crying”.
When asked if she had left the baby in the road, she told police: “I couldn’t cope, so I left him for two minutes.”
CCTV footage showed the mother laying the baby-carrier down at the road junction and then walking off, just minutes before the baby was discovered by Mr Wilson at about 8.30pm on November 24, 2017.
Police took the baby to his grandmother’s home and the mother was arrested.
She was taken in for questioning at Harrogate Police Station but made no comment.
She was charged with abandoning a child causing the life of the child to be endangered.
The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, ultimately admitted the offence but skipped a court hearing and was remanded in custody.
She appeared for sentence via video link on Thursday (4 April).
The court heard the woman had many previous convictions for offences including drugs possession and stealing to fund her habit.
Defence barrister Philip Standfast said the mother’s inexplicable act in abandoning her baby “can only be a reflection of her dire state and mental condition at that time”.
Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told the mother: “You have pleaded guilty to a shocking example of neglect [whereby] your very young child was left… in the middle of the road in a car seat in the dead of night.
“You did something unimaginable to any parent.
“It was only due to the care of Mr Wilson the carrier seat was recovered and no harm came to [the baby], but it could have been so, so different.”
Mr Stubbs said to leave a “young and helpless child” in such a dangerous situation could only be met with a prison sentence.
However, he said he could suspend the sentence because the defendant had been making efforts to beat her drug habit and turn her life around “more than most”.
The eight-month prison sentence was suspended for two years and includes a 30-day rehabilitation programme.
The judge said Mr Wilson deserved to be commended for his heroic and “public-spirited” actions “at a time when he was nervous about putting himself in a potentially difficult and dangerous situation”.
He ordered Mr Wilson be paid £250 from public funds for his potentially-life-saving bravery and care.