Tod­dler on high­way rescued by truckie

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

Ev­ery day as Dennis Rod­er­ick drives his courier truck down Mana Es­planade, he looks out for a par­tic­u­lar house with a child’s Lego creations stacked on the win­dowsill.

It’s where two-year-old Liam Adam­son lives, who wan­dered on to State High­way 1 on Fe­bru­ary 29 last year and was saved by Mr Rod­er­ick’s heroic ac­tions.

Para­pa­raumu res­i­dent Mr Rod­er­ick was named the Beau­re­paires High­way Hero of 2012 at a cer­e­mony last Wed­nes­day. He was praised by na­tional road polic­ing man­ager, su­per­in­ten­dent Carey Grif­fiths, and given $5000.

As a sur­prise the Adam­son fam­ily at­tended the cer­e­mony to thank Mr Rod­er­ick per­son­ally.

‘‘ We’re just so grate­ful for your ef­forts on that day,’’ Liam’s dad Ja­son Adam­son said.

Liam, aged 16 months, had got out­side the fam­ily home’s front gate and wan­dered on to the road in a sin­glet and nappy. The gate had been un­latched by some­body de­liv­er­ing fly­ers to the house.

Mr Rod­er­ick was driv­ing a 20-me­tre-long courier truck and spot­ted Liam just six me­tres ahead. He slammed on the brakes, turned the truck across the road to stop traf­fic, ran to the boy and scooped him up.

‘‘It’s hard to com­pre­hend. I just thought ‘my god, there’s a baby on the road’,’’ Mr Rod­er­ick said.

Liam’s mother and grand­mother soon raced out of the gate, in shock at what could have hap­pened, he said. Mean­while, Liam was obliv­i­ous to the drama he had caused.

‘‘When I picked him up he just put his head on my shoul­der and cud­dled me,’’ Mr Rod­er­ick said. ‘‘He was a dear lit­tle chap.’’

De­spite his award, Mr Rod­er­ick doesn’t feel like a hero.

‘‘I say to peo­ple it wasn’t a big deal, but to the par­ents it was. It was just some­thing you do. A lit­tle boy ap­pears on the high­way in front of you, you just stop, get out and grab him.’’

Liam’s mum Michelle Barr told Mr Rod­er­ick she keeps an eye out for his truck from the house. ‘‘I see you go past ev­ery day.’’ She is glad the in­ci­dent hap­pened on a leap day.

‘‘It only comes around ev­ery four years, thank­fully.’’

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