Heroic woman runs to toddler's side after he is thrown into traffic; suspect returns to court Tuesday
"I told my husband, I said, 'Just slow down, this guy's about to throw something.'"
Tracy Willner was driving home with her husband and young daughter around 9 on the night of July 14 when she saw a 30-ish man standing next to South Academy just south of the intersection with Airport Road, holding something in his arms.
"I thought it was a bag or a dog. I wasn't sure what it was."
As soon as the light turned green, the man hurled something into roadway. The car in front of her swerved abruptly and suddenly the unthinkable happened: a small boy stood up.
"I don't think the realization has hit. ... He threw a baby into traffic. He threw him hard into traffic and the baby rolled. Thank God the lady in front of us swerved and was paying attention."
Without a moment's hesitation, Willner jumped into traffic and ran to the child.
"I grabbed the baby and just held him. He was soaking wet and crying. ... I'm just standing there in the rain holding the baby, screaming, 'Someone call 911, someone call 911,' because my phone was dead. I'm screaming, 'Does anyone have a blanket?' A lady gave me a towel and covered him up. I just held him right here and for a little while he stopped crying. I just wanted to keep him as warm and as safe as possible."
Other witnesses also rushed to held, Willner said.
"The guy who threw him was standing right by my passenger door.
These two guys come running and tackled him to make sure he wouldn’t get the baby. He took off running ... so my husband jumped out of the car and chased the guy up by the tattoo place with the other two guys and pinned him until the police showed up," she told 11 News.
Police have identified the suspect as Bryant Hickcox, 30, who is reportedly the toddler's cousin. According to jail records, Hickcox remains booked in the El Paso County jail on a $150,000 bond.
According to arrest papers obtained by 11 News Hickcox reportedly called his cousin "the devil" before tossing the toddler in front of oncoming cars. The arrest papers go on to state Hickcox told officers he would "never do that."
The 2-year-old's parents tell 11 News they are still trying to understand what happened, but are so grateful for the witnesses who helped their son.
“Everybody kept saying 'Thank you, thank you.' I was a like, 'You don't have to thank me. That's what you're supposed to do.' One officer said you'd be surprised how many people just drive by and don't get involved in situations because they're too busy or just don't want to get involved, and I said, 'How can you not?' We have to have each other's back. If it was your kid, you'd want somebody to be there and comfort her or him too,” Willner said.
11 News reporter Jessica Leicht got to meet the little boy the following day. Other than some scrapes and bruises, he is doing just fine.
Hickcox, who faces attempted first-degree murder and attempted child abuse charges, made another appearance before a judge Tuesday. Little happened in court beyond setting the next court date for Sept. 8.