BATAVIA, Ohio (WKRC) - Megan Lack has two wonderful boys. They both have autism. Braden is her oldest.
“He's a very active child. He loves to run around. He loves outdoor play. He's into puzzles and that type of stuff," Lack said. "He's always been a very sweet, caring child. He's always affectionate with people that he knows. He's a blessing."
Braden has left their home and school on occasion without permission. He did just that on Nov. 6. He was in his room while Lack was with her other son.
"I went, you know, 20, 30 feet away, and it was just in that short of time that I went 20, 30 feet away to go grab a beverage for my younger son, and I came back to the bedroom that he was in and I noticed that the window was wide open," Lack said. "I ran outside immediately. I ran outside, and I did a visual check to see if I could see him in my yard and I couldn't see him, and I was screaming, yelling for him. I was bursting into tears because I was so upset and worried."
Lack called 911 and hoped someone would find her little boy before anything bad happened. That’s where Ohio State Highway Patrol Troopers A.J. Beam and Zach Sauber come in.
"It was starting to get dark, is in a curve somewhat and it's a faster-pace area where we were, so, you know, I come back to when we were there -- had we not been there, it could have been very tragic," Beam said.
"We just came up on this small child with minimal clothes on, walking in the road. It was getting dark. There was some traffic on that road, and it was just amazing how he just came right to us," Sauber said.
In dash cam video, you can see Braden almost appear out of nowhere in the middle of the road. Beam spots him and stops the cruiser and turns his emergency lights on.
"I stepped out of the car, held out my hand to him and said, 'Hey buddy, will you come over here for me?' And he came right up to me. He was, I think, ready to get back inside somewhere. It was a little cold, and, like I said, he was barefoot on the pavement. So, he walked right up to me," Beam said.
"When we saw him running in the road, you immediately just realize that that's what we needed to take care of and we needed first and foremost to figure out who he belonged to and where he lived," Sauber said.
Lack saw the state troopers pull up in her driveway.
"I broke down crying because I was worried at first because I thought they were going to tell me something bad, that something happened, but then I saw them getting out of the car with him and that made me cry even more because I was happy to see he was fine," Lack said.
"Had we not been there, somebody could have struck him. He wasn't the easiest to see to begin with and where it's getting darker, it could have turned out pretty badly," Beam said.
Both troopers said they got into law enforcement to keep their community safe and help people. They did both those things in this instance.
"I know what my son means to me. He's the most important part of my life, and I can only imagine that he is for his mom, so being able to avoid anything tragic was the best feeling you could have. That's why I signed up for the job," Beam said.
"It was one of the best feelings I've had on this job. She was very emotional. She definitely had her hands full with an autistic child, and she was just so happy to be reunited and it definitely made us feel like we did our jobs that night," Sauber said.