LAKEWOOD, N.J. – A father was charged Friday after a baby was spotted crawling across a New Jersey road by a driver.
Evgeniy Dorman, 41, was charged with cruelty and neglect of a child after he surrendered himself to police just after 1 p.m., Asbury Park Press reported. He was released pending a future court date.
The shocking incident that occurred on Sept. 22 caught nationwide attention after a photo of the crawling baby in Lakewood appeared in a since-deleted Facebook post.
Police found that the baby boy crawled through an open front door, probably left “unsecured” by an older sibling, and then traveled about 140 feet into the road, Lakewood police Sgt. Gregory Staffordsmith said.
Cory Cannon, who posted the photo, told the Asbury Park Press he thought the child was a toy until he saw movement.
“I thought it was a toy or something until she moved,” he told the newspaper. “I knew I needed to get some sort of proof and my GPS was open on my phone, so I used my work vehicle to slow down traffic behind me and took the pic as I was exiting the vehicle and halting oncoming cars.”
A neighbor took the baby back to his parents, who didn’t know the child was gone until he was returned home.
The child was unharmed in the incident, Fox News reported.
Cannon, 41, of Eatontown, was driving on Joe Parker Road just before 6 p.m. Sept. 22 when he saw the baby. He snapped a photo that went viral, sparking a social media controversy over whether he should have helped the baby before taking the photo. This stretch of roadway has a 40 mph. speed limit.
A woman who identified herself as the caretaker said the incident was an accident.
Neighbors told the Press last Monday that the child’s parents are amazing, devoted people who made a mistake. The two individuals spoke to the Press on the condition of anonymity.
“It’s devastating what people are saying on social media,” she said, adding that the family is always at the park playing with their children. “I’m personally destroyed by this because I know the family.”
A man at the neighboring home on Grandview Drive, which intersects with Joe Parker Road, said he’s a member of various community agencies and has seen tragedies of all kinds in Lakewood.
“We are all people of means,” he said. “If we felt there was a problem with the family, we would have gotten them the help they needed. We are a community that takes care of each other.”
The weeklong investigation was conducted by Lakewood police and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.