For Colorado Springs resident Tracy Willner, the evening of July 14 was simply another Friday out on the town with her family. But the entire tenor of the night changed when she saw a man standing on a corner while cradling something in his arms.
“I said, ‘Honey, slow down,’” Willner told KKTV. “‘He’s about to throw something.’”
The man indeed threw something, but Willner couldn’t tell what it was at first. She initially thought he’d hurled a large animal, something about the size of a dog.
But it wasn’t a dog at all. Only when the small figure clamored to its feet did Willner realize the awful truth: The life at risk was that of a toddler.
The car in front of the Willner’s vehicle nearly struck the child. That was when the family screeched to a stop and piled out.
Surveillance footage from a nearby business shows the man who’d thrown the child — Bryant Jerel Hickcox — pelting away with Willner’s husband in hot pursuit. While he and two other bystanders subdued Hickcox, Willner took charge of the child.
“I grabbed the baby, and I just held him,” Willner said. “He was soaking wet.
“He was crying. I’m just standing there in the rain holding the baby, screaming, ‘Someone call 911, someone call 911,’ because my phone was dead.”
The child was Hickcox’s cousin. Police records report that Hickcox allegedly called the toddler “the devil” prior to tossing him in the street.
Hickcox himself disputes that account. When officers arrived to arrest them, he told them that he’d “never do that.”
The boy’s family, though, says that the accusations are true. The child’s father, Timothy Hickcox, wrote on Facebook that “my son’s drunken cousin kidnapped my son and threw him in front of driving cars in one of the most busiest roads in Colorado Springs.”
Hickcox remains in custody and is facing attempted murder and attempted child abuse resulting in death charges. However, the boy’s father is simply happy that Willner was there to help.
“We are so glad that Ben is well up and so thankful for that angel that held him while he was screaming for his mama,” he wrote. “You are our hero, and wherever you are, I hope we find you and can only try to thank you.”