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Roseville Police officer rescues child

Escape artist snarls Foothills Boulevard traffic
By: Bill Sullivan, Associate Publisher
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When patrons of a Roseville McDonald’s witnessed an 8-year-old autistic boy darting in and out of traffic as he ran across the roadway, they thought the worst.  But the quick work of an observant Roseville police officer on patrol brought the young “escape artist” to safety.

Roseville Police Officer Donald Mason was traveling down Foothills Boulevard Saturday morning when he spotted the boy in green pajamas run into the roadway. Various cars were slamming on their brakes and swerving to avoid a tragedy. It was then that Mason sprung into action.

“I was about 200 yards from the intersection,” said Mason. “I just saw a little kid in green pajamas darting in the road and traffic going both way. The kid was just bee-lining toward McDonald’s.”
Mason quickly pulled over and got out of his vehicle. At one point the child had reached the restaurant’s parking lot. When another bystander approached him in an attempt to insure his safety, the boy darted back

into the traffic-populated street. Mason put the safety of the child before his own and ran into the street to sweep him up.

“I just ran and I got him right in the center median,” said Mason. “I just picked him up and avoided a little collision.”

Discovering the child had a medical alert bracelet, the officer drove him to his home just down the street. As it turns out, the child had set out on a journey for the local restaurant, overcoming many obstacles, including added safety locks on the doors at home.

“They had locks on every single door in the house, like safety locks on every single door in the house, every sliding glass door, window,” said Mason. “They took safety measures. They knew he was an escape artist.”

According to reports, one of the boy’s siblings left the door leading into the garage unlocked Saturday morning. The younger child apparently went into the garage where he strategically opened the refrigerator doors in the garage, climbed up the shelves like a ladder and depressed the garage door opener and escaped.

“When I pulled up, the garage doors were still open. You could see both of the fridge doors were still open as well,” said Mason.

The family, who asked not to be identified, were extremely grateful for Mason’s heroic actions that brought their son to safety.  The boy’s mother explained that her son is autistic and ever since he went to McDonald’s for the first time, all he can think about it going back.

“He likes to go to the play area there,” she said, as she explained even though he is 8, he operates at the level of a 3 year old.

“As soon as he figured out how to get there, that’s been his preferable place to go. He doesn’t understand if something is hot, not to touch it,” his mother said. “We work with therapy five days a week, watching for cars and stuff. But once he gets out, all that goes away.”

While the boy’s family and witnesses see Mason as a true hero, the Roseville police officer summed up his actions as his duty and that of his fellow officers.

“I did what every other person would do in that situation. I know I can speak for anyone else in this department, any department in California,” said Mason.  “What we get into this job for is to save people.”