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Retired cop uses sledgehammer to save a baby from hot car

“Another 15 minutes in that car and she would have been dead”
Steve Eckel

A retired police officer has saved a four-month-old locked in the back seat of a hot car for 40 minutes.

The father of six noticed the infant screaming and crying before running to rescue her by breaking a window open with a sledgehammer.

“She was soaking wet, sweat all over her face and hair. She was screaming. Hey eyes were rolling back. Just frantic, frantic,” Eckel told TIME on Wednesday.

Eckel said that the little infant was wrapped in a woollen blanket and that he could feel the baby’s heat through his shirt adding that the temperature of an enclosed car goes up by about 20 degrees every 10 minutes.


“Another 15 minutes in that car and she would have been dead.”

Eckel and another passerby Sara Mazzone, 30, took the baby to a nearby store where they stripped her from her soaking pink onesie and doused her with a bottle of water to cool her down.

“For me it just hits home. It’s about humanity. This shouldn’t happen in this day and age. There’s no reason for babies to die in cars, dogs to die in cars. There’s’ no reason for it.”

Karen Gruen, the 33-year-old mother returned from Kohl’s with two other children and panicked when she realised the window was broken and her baby wasn’t there.

Authorities arrested and charged Gruen for endangering the welfare of a child. The baby is ok and is now in the custody of her

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