Ledrika Ford said she can explain why her 9-month-old son was crawling by himself on a busy street in Utica, New York.
A viral video posted to Facebook shows a crying baby — wearing a onesie and a bib — alone in the middle of a roadway on Friday night. Nearly 70,000 people have shared the video, which shows multiple passersby stopping to help the crying the infant.
Rn Jay, a Facebook user who posted the video, said stumbling upon the confused child “really broke my heart.”
“I want everyone to see this all over the media so please share this around,” Jay wrote, “so when ever that mother comes across this she can see that the pain of that lil lost baby who was freezing and lonely and scared cuz she wasn’t there.”
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Ford, a 27-year-old mother of four, told WKTV that the incident stemmed from her faulty passenger-side doors and an unsecured car seat. The doors are hard to close, she argued, and her aunt didn’t strap the baby in safely.
That caused her 9-month-old to “fly out” of the car when turning around a corner, Ford said.
“I grabbed the two bigger (kids) and she grabbed the two small ones, we put them all in the car,” she told WKTV. “I'm in the front seat, putting on my seat belt. I look in the back, everybody's in the car and the door looks like it shut. I pull off. I'm not thinking that my door is going to fly open and my son is going to fly out.”
At the end of the video, which has amassed nearly 3 million views, Jay vents his frustration with the situation after another man talks about calling 911.
“That’s what people do now, you feel me?” he asked. “Leaving their kids in the street?”
Right after, a woman is heard shouting “That’s my baby! That’s my baby!” Jay’s video then ends.
Ford told WKTV that she was in a state of “panic.”
“I turn around, I parked right here and I jumped out of the car, and all I see was my baby,” she said. “I said 'that's my baby,' and I grab my baby and I just panic. All my kids are in the car, they're crying.”
The City of Utica Police Department wrote that officers saw the video and began to search for Ford, who they found later that night and charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Ford allegedly told police that her son was secured in the back of the car before she noticed that he was gone a short time later. She expressed confusion about how the infant managed to get out of her vehicle.
The mother has since lost custody of all four of her children, police wrote, and is due in court on March 23.
Jay said that he is unmoved by Ford’s side of the story.
“I don’t care what the problem was or how it happen(ed),” he wrote in the caption of his video. “(The) main rule is to never leave your child’s side at a baby stage like that.”