Two Young Men Rescue Stranded Girl

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MEDFORD, Ore. — Two young men rescued a girl walking in the middle of the road on Interstate 5. Cody Engler and Patrick Verdun were coming back from lacrosse practice when they noticed the young girl.

“It seemed like a kid kinda just playing; walking down in the middle of the road; someone who obviously needed help,” said Verdun.

But no one stopped to help.

“She was walking straight down the dotted lines on I-5 northbound towards traffic,” said Verdun.

“That’s the thing. I was blown away, no one was stopping. We talked to some people later who actually saw her and kept going and came up with some excuse. Like, ‘Oh, she’s probably on drugs or something,'” said Engler.

The young men pulled over on the side of the freeway and stopped oncoming traffic to help the young girl get to safety.

“It seems pretty apparent that the needed some higher level of care to some degree and it’s hard to see somebody that’s not getting what they need and being put in such danger,” said Engler.

Soon after, another woman, a mother with her own kids in the car, also stopped to help. Oregon State Police said that woman met up with troopers off Exit 14. Troopers have dealt with this young girl’s family before and say she is autistic.

“Autism is a spectrum,” explained Families for Community executive director, Emilie Sampson. “So, I mean it could have been a number of things. It could have been not wanting to be where she is, it could have been having somewhere else she wanted to be. I don’t think that it was wandering for wandering sake.”

For Cody and Patrick, it doesn’t matter what was wrong, but say they were glad to be there and help.

“There’s a human being walking down the road. If I was walking down the freeway against oncoming traffic, I would hope somebody should stop for me as well,” said Verdun.


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  1. Patrick Reichstein says:

    What has this world come too when nobody will stop to help a fellow human who is obviously in trouble or in danger? Come on people! Or should we be called people anymore!!!!

    1. Melissa says:

      Thank you! Such wonderful HUMANS you are. I agree with Patrick. People rather turn a blind eye to situations like this, instead of getting involved. Both boys are heroes, and warm my soul to know that there are people out there that are being raised with compassion and humanity.

  2. Mary says:

    First off thanks to those awesome young men for doing what they did. We can’t thank you enough!!

    And second the psychologist was wrong. There are autistic kids called “runners” and we don’t know why they do it, but they like to sneak out of their homes and wonder off. I know this family personally and they take great care of her, but she’s very sneaky and will wait for the perfect time when no one is looking and run like the wind. All it takes is 10 seconds and she’s gone. I babysit for this 11 year old sometimes, she is very loved and well taken care of by all who know her. I hope that psychologist learns more about autism before she goes on the news portraying someone who knows all about autism. Thanks again to those brave young men!!

  3. Mary says:

    Here’s a link about autistic kids who are “runners.”


  4. Scott says:

    Just want to add onto what Mary said .. I know this family too, and because of that I am on an online group for parents with autistic children. First of all ..for all those who have normal non-autistic children …Count Your Blessings !
    Because ..severe autism is pretty tragic. Parents who have autistic children live with their doors locked from the inside. To give readers an idea …..it would not be unheard of fora child with severe autism to run off naked at night ..and that despite high fences, well-locked gates and doors etc.
    Regarding this particular case, this child’s caretaker has a nice property that could really use some very good fencing around it , so the child and her caretaker can live there. We are investigating crowdfunding or some way to raise the $ needed for a good solid fence around a one acre property with house on it.
    It takes a Village ………….
    sincerely, Scott

    1. Pamela says:

      Thank you SCOTT and MARY!! Parents of autistic children NEED people like you who will speak out for them!
      It’s too easy for people to jump to conclusions that are wayyy off base.
      I hope that Ms. Sampson checks out the info on autistic “runners”, cuz what she said goes straight into people’s minds and they believe she knows what she is talking about!
      I think the ‘crowd-funding’ idea is GREAT! These parents obviously need some financial help and more community support!
      The materials could be donated by businesses (Worth the tax write-off!), and the work of building the fence can be done by volunteers.
      It DOES take a community of people who CARE.
      May the Lord bless the guys for rescuing this young girl!!
      The world can be a hard place…everyone thinking about themselves and that “someone else will do it”. I am SO thankful that there are still people who will follow the way of love, and help others.

  5. Catherine says:

    I feel for this family. We are in the same boat. We have a son that has autism. He will wander just for wandering sake. He has NO FEAR of danger! We have built fences, put locks on everything to keep him safe. He will eat anything and everything, even the batteries from a remote control! We are well educated parents and still do not know what to do. Poison Control “flagged” our phone number because we “called too much”. There are plenty of resources for kids who are mildly affected with autism. However, our son was not a “poster child” that could qualify for programs like Sparrow Club, or similar programs that raise support to improve the safety and living environment. Praying for this sweet girl and her family. Thank you to the men that stopped to help. You are Heroes!! Give these kids and exausted parents a voice!

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