PEABODY — Joann Cronin couldn’t believe her eyes Friday morning when she saw a toddler walking in the middle of Lowell Street.
The Peabody Municipal Federal Credit Union assistant manager slammed on her brakes, jumped out of her car, and scooped up the 2-year-old.
“I was just in the right place at the right time. I’m so thankful,” Cronin said.
She carried the girl, who Peabody Police Capt. Dennis Bonaiuto said was unharmed, to a Lowell Street Sunoco station where an employee called emergency 911.
Bonaiuto said responding officers determined the child opened a door in the Watch-A-Tot daycare center, 486 Lowell St., shortly after being dropped off there at 8 a.m., wandered into the center’s yard and out to the street.
Cronin said it was sheer luck there was very little traffic on the stretch of Lowell Street she was traveling down when she spotted the girl. She said the child was frightened but allowed her to pick her up and carry her to the Sunoco station.
Police officers summoned emergency medical personnel to examine the girl and the child’s mother picked her up at the station.
Bonaiuto said police notified state daycare licensing officials and the Department of Children and Families (DCF) about the incident.
“The Department of Children and Families received a report and is investigating,” DCF spokeswoman Andrea Grossman said in a statement.
A representative from Watch-A-Tot said they could not comment without authorization from a superior, and did not return further calls seeking comment.