Man arrested after one-year-old found walking near highway

Police arrested Lance Wells for child endangerment after a one-year-old was found walking near I-35. (Oklahoma County Jail)

A baby walking along I-35 Service Rd. in only a diaper and t-shirt.

That's what Jackie Thornton noticed when she was driving on Thursday afternoon. She called police who then took charge of the baby, who was dirty but not in physical distress.

"This could have been a worst-case scenario and truly saved this child's life," Oklahoma City Police Officer Megan Morgan said. "She did exactly what we ask citizens to do when they see something like this."

The child was walking near the Courtesy Inn and police asked the motel staff if their were any children currently staying there. The staff led them to a room where police said the child's guardian was asleep inside.

Officers arrested the man, 34-year-old Lance Wells.

Police said they also found methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in the room. Wells now faces child endangerment and drug charges.

"This case is pretty rare for the fact that this child was walking along such a busy street," Morgan said. "Almost into the highway."

According to the police report, the Department of Human Services responded to the motel to care for the child. The child's mother was called and came to pick him up.

Police said a potentially dangerous outcome was averted in this case.

"Fortunately we don't see these types of cases very often and that's a good thing," Morgan said. "We're glad we don't have to investigate these very often but when they do come up, we're grateful for citizens like our calling party in this case."

The police report also said the woman making the call about the baby stayed with him for about 30 minutes before until police arrived.

Police said this is what should be done whenever you see a child with no supervision nearby.

The connection between the suspect and the child hasn't been released.

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