Police in New Jersey say a passerby who grabbed a sledgehammer and smashed a car's window saved the life of the infant inside. The drama unfolded in a Kohl's parking lot in Asbury Park on Monday when Steve Eckel, 53, and Sarah Mazzone, 30—strangers to each other—heard the 4-month-old child crying and stopped to help. "It was a little baby wrapped up in a woolen blanket—crying, sweating, eyes rolling in the back of her head," recalls Eckel, per the Asbury Park Press. He went back to his own car for the sledgehammer, broke a window, then brought the baby into the air-conditioned store with Mazzone.
The infant recovered, but police say the child "appeared to be in a great deal of stress" after spending 40 minutes in the locked car on a day when the temperature was near 90, reports NJ.com. After the baby's mother returned to the car, with two children in tow, police charged her with endangering the welfare of a child. She was released pending a court appearance, and the baby was released into the custody of the father. "I recognize the civilians who took immediate action to rescue this child, for they truly saved a life," says the police chief. (Read more child left in hot car stories.)