When 5-year-old Ameleah Kegly got off the school bus Monday afternoon, her mom was not there to pick her up.
Ameleah walked herself home to the family’s home in Mansfield, Ohio, but mom Christina Hunter, 31, was not there either.
So the girl waited at home, alone. Three hours later, when her mom had still not arrived, Ameleah took matters into her own hands. She grabbed the keys at about 7 p.m. and got behind the wheel of the family’s black SUV to search for her mom.
She turned the headlights on and put the key in the ignition but, failing to turn the ignition completely on, she rolled the car backward down the driveway, and right into the neighbor’s yard.
Realizing the trouble she was in, Ameleah got out of the car and called 911.
“Um, my mom’s car backed out on accident and I need the police to pull my mom’s car back in,” she told the dispatcher. “The car is staying on running now you got to get here quick, my mom is going to be pissed at me.”
“Where is your mom at? Is she in the car,” the dispatcher asked.
“Umm, no, I don’t know where she is at and I’m lost,” Ameleah said. “She gone and I miss her so much.”
“… You’ve spelled your name for me, and you told me your mom’s name, and what has happened, and I am very proud of you Ameleah,” the dispatcher responded, trying to keep the kindergartner calm.
Mansfield police officer Ryan Grimshaw arrived at the family’s home to find Ameleah unharmed, but scared.
“I just found a little girl standing in the doorway by herself on the phone,” he told the Mansfield News Journal. ”She was scared, but she opened up pretty quickly. She said she came home from school and no one was there. She said she had been playing with her two cats and that she was hungry, so I made her some pizza rolls and gave her a juice box. She was pretty happy about that.”
What Ameleah and Grimshaw didn’t know at the time was that the girl’s mother, Hunter, had been taken by ambulance to a local hospital earlier in the day for an undisclosed ailment.
Released from the hospital late Monday, Hunter told officials she had asked Ameleah’s father, Aaron Kegley, 26, to take care of their daughter after school. Kegley says he never received that message.
Mansfield police did not file charges against Hunter or Kegley, but the county’s Department of Children Services is looking into the incident.