Knoxville (WVLT) Turn your head for an instant, and a 4 year old can get into all sorts of danger!
That seems to be what happened at a West Knox County Elementary school last week.
Volunteer TV's Gordon Boyd has more on what turned into a close call in heavy traffic
Neighbors and passing drivers prevented what could have been a tragedy.
Apparently, a special needs pre-schooler, one of ten such children under the eye of four teachers got out of a fenced, locked playground during recess.
Bluegrass Elementary is Whitney Reynold's cross roads neighbor.
"He was actually on the side of the road, when I got to the scene, but he had been in the middle of Ebenezer."
But when that cross road is as well-traveled as Ebenezer, she couldn't quite believe what she saw on a morning drive a week ago.
There sat the little boy.
Reynolds says, "he wasn't responding, he wasn't talking, and we asked him, you know, where are, where are you trying to go, and he didn't respond.
Principal Brenda Gray says the boy evidently broke from his special needs play group during recess, when one of his teachers got distracted.
"One of the children had gone around to the other side of the playground so she went after him. When she did this, the other kid went out of line and went behind her, and he just scooted through the fence."
How long before they knew he was gone?
It was immediate.
But long enough for him to cover the 100 or so yards from the back playground, to the front along Ebenezer.
Reynolds says, "another parent drove behind us, she called the school, and the principal came down and took the child."
Principal Gray says, "any time we have any kind of an incident, we review."
The Principal says Bluegrass Elementary's teachers and staff
followed procedures, but after talking with the boy's mother, Gray says, "we went around the playground, walked back around looked at other things to make sure they were safe."
Reynolds says she understands, special needs children can pose unique challenges, but she hopes this close call warns all of us.
"I do have a little boy, and he's mischievous, and he does things every now and then, that you know, oh my goodness, that could be my child in three or four years."
School officials say privacy laws prevent them from revealing the little boy's name or a way to contact his parents.
The laws also bar them from talking about the boy's learning challenges or history, without his parents permission.