Off-duty police officer saves girl trapped in car stopped on busy road

Girl's mother, uncle passed out after using heroin, authorities say

By Christian De La Rosa - Reporter

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. - An off-duty Coconut Creek police officer rescued a child from a dangerous situation Tuesday after the 4-year-old girl's mother and uncle passed out while driving on a busy street, authorities said.

Coconut Creek police Officer Shana Conley said she driving in the 1000 block of Lyons Road on Tuesday when she was flagged down by city workers. "It was my day off," Conley said.

The workers told her that a car was stopped in the middle of the road with the engine still running."I then exited my vehicle and observed two individuals -- a male driver and a female passenger -- passed out and slumped over in the vehicle," Conley said.

She quickly took action, breaking one of the rear windows. Inside, in the back seat, was a 4-year-old girl."As soon as I saw the little girl my maternal instinct kicked in. You know, I'm a mom," Conley said.

She put the car in park and ushered the girl to safety. Police said the girl's mother, 30-year-old Sarah Atkins, and the girl's uncle, 26-year-old James Atkins, had been using heroin and lost had consciousness. 

Sarah Atkins and James Atkins were both arrested. They face charges of drug possession and child neglect.

"And I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh I can't believe that somebody put their child in this type of position,' and it really hurt me in a way because, if I wasn't in the right place at the right time, who knows what could've happened to this child," Conley said.

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