Driver dives in front of bus to save toddler

Trish Hartman Image
Monday, December 4, 2017
SEPTA driver dives in front of bus to save toddler
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SEPTA driver dives in front of bus to save toddler. Trish Hartman reports during Action News at 4:30 p.m. on December 1, 2017.

PHILADELPHIA -- If you have young kids, you know they can easily slip away from you. Fortunately one SEPTA driver says he was in the right place at the right time to save a toddler who was about to run into oncoming traffic.

On Nov. 8, SEPTA driver Bob Uttrodt was driving his normal route with a full bus and was helping a passenger in a wheelchair on the sidewalk at Frankford and Hellerman around 5 p.m. - rush hour.

"I heard someone in the background say, 'Oh my God,'" Uttrodt said.

Surveillance video from inside the bus shows a mother carrying a baby and a stroller with a toddler walking in front of her.

The little girl then runs out in front of the bus towards a busy Frankford Avenue.

Another camera angle shows Uttrodt lunging and diving in front of his bus to stop her.

Action News caught up with Uttrodt at the Frankford Transportation Center.

"I saw the baby right about here. I tried grabbing her and I walked around. I dove and got right about here. And I cradled her right about here," Uttrodt said.

Uttrodt has been on the job for 12 years. But before his time at SEPTA, he spent four years in the Navy as a search and rescue swimmer.

He said, "I think the training I had in the military helped me do what I did."

Director of Frankford Transportation Thomas Ropars said, "Part of his training was search and rescue. If he would've hesitated just for a second the circumstances would've been totally different."

Uttrodt said it wasn't just his training, but also his 2-year-old grandson that made his instincts kick in.

"I was really thinking about my grandson because he was just that age," added Uttrodt.

Uttrodt said the mother and child left the scene quickly after this happened before he could even get their names.

He said he would love to know how they're doing.

Uttrodt also said when he got back onto his bus, the passengers who witnessed it all, clapped and cheered.