Bryant Collins is being called a hero after he spotted a baby crawling alongside a busy highway in Madison County, Georgia, 30 minutes east of Athens. For Collins, an ex-con who served 10 years in federal prison, saving the baby is a testament to the hard work he put into changing his life while incarcerated.
Here’s what you need to know about Collins:
1. He Works as an Auto Repairman
— NBC Nightly News (@NBCNightlyNews) June 17, 2014
WXIA reports Collins now works as an auto repairman. Collins said he was driving on Highway 72, which starts in Athens and ends at the South Carolina border, when he noticed the 15-month-old baby girl crawling alongside the busy route. He told WXIA:
I just stopped and, when I got out, there was a baby … almost in the highway. … What the hell is going on? A baby?
Georgia traffic laws set speed limits for rural interstates at 75 miles per hour and urban interstates at 55 miles per hour.
2. He Comforted the Baby for 2 Hours
— #stopchildabuse (@helpspreadthis) June 17, 2014
According to NBC News, Collins stayed with the baby for two hours after calling 911. He played gospel music on his cell phone to stop the 15-month-old from crying.
3. The Baby Crawled 300 Yards Away From Her Home
Madison County Sheriff Kip Thomas told NBC News the baby was left in the care of her older siblings, who lost track of her. The baby suffered superficial injuries, which was astounding to Thomas. WXIA reports:
Honestly that’s almost a miracle: that a 15-month-old can go that far from her house, into the woods, fall down an embankment, wind up near a major highway, and really not get hurt that bad.
4. The Baby’s Father Was Arrested
— NBC News (@NBCNews) June 17, 2014
WXIA reports that after Collins called 911, police arrested the baby’s father, Timothy Pickens, and are likely to arrest the baby’s mother, who has not been identified. Pickens was arrested on charges of cruelty to children, reckless conduct and obstruction, according to The Augusta Chronicle.
The Chronicle reports Pickens approached the scene of the investigation screaming, “That’s my child,” before he was arrested.
5. Collins Served Time for Manufacturing Cocaine
— Andrea E. Cruz (@AndreaCNews) June 17, 2014
Collins told WXIA he served a 10-year federal prison sentence for manufacturing cocaine, mentioning he made a lot of bad decisions in his life. Manufacturing drugs is both a state and federal offense and refers to the process of producing or creating drugs, most often found in marijuana and crystal meth cases. While incarcerated, he said he “made a very conscientious effort to change,” which clearly paid off. Collins has been clean for the last five years.