Kristal Peters said she doesn’t consider herself a hero.
Peters, whose daring rescue of an 11-month-old baby late Monday afternoon may have saved the child’s life, said she just did what anyone ought to do if faced with the same circumstances.
“I’m not a hero. I did what any person should do,” she said. “If you hear somebody in distress and screaming for help, everybody should go and try to help.”
Peters was at a Flash Foods at Highway 84 and Gen. Screven Way when the incident happened. She’s now got a broken toe, sprained foot and a number of scrapes and bruises after she was hit by a vehicle driven by the father as she ran to get the baby to safety.
She didn’t realize the full scope of what occurred until she went home that evening.
“At a time like that you’re just so full of adrenaline, you don’t stop to think,” Peters said. “You know what to do, I suppose. I didn’t think about anything until it was over. But when I finally got home on my couch last night I just lost it. I realized what really happened.”
Much of it was caught on the store’s security camera. As Peters was filling her gas tank, she heard a woman screaming.
“She sounded really frantic, so I went ahead and dialed 911 before I ran over there, thank God, so they were already on their way. When I got here it was a whole different scene. I thought the baby was choking and it wasn’t that at all,” Peters said.
The mother and baby were allegedly being held at knife point by Aaron Williams, 23, of Ludowici. That’s when Peters reached in, grabbed the baby from the car and tried to hide behind a gas pump.
Williams was in the passenger seat. He got out of the car, a PT Cruiser, and gpt behind the wheel, then began to circle around in the parking lot.
When he seemed far enough away, she headed towards the store. The baby’s mother also began to run.
“At some point I wasn’t sure if he was actually trying to hit the mom or the baby, so I sort of slowed down my run to let her get a little further ahead of me, which was a mistake because clearly he was after the baby, I just remember getting hit,” Peters said.
She doesn’t know how she fell but remembers getting up, running into the store, putting the baby in the office and closing the door.
Peters, who is a mother of three, is happy that no one was seriously hurt. Peters said there were other people in the parking lot who didn’t know what to do and feels like she was put there for a reason.
“I’m grateful. We’re all OK. That baby could’ve died here yesterday had I not been here,” she said. “Other people obviously were not going to intervene.”
Police arrived in force shortly after Peters ran inside the store and officers took Williams into custody. Williams will get a bond hearing on Wednesday at the Liberty County Justice Center, according to authorities.
Both mother and child were first taken to Liberty Regional Medical Center and then taken to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, according to police. Their condition was unavailable at press time Tuesday.
Videotape footage of the rescue, meanwhile, has gotten Peters a lot of attention, but she feels the focus should be on the baby.
“I don’t think any of it should be focused on me,” she said. “I think that someone trying to kill the baby should be the main point of the story and the fact that the baby survived and we all came out it with just scrapes and bruises. I did what I would love to think anybody would do if they hear a screaming mom asking for help. You just go and help. That’s what you do.”
Tiffany King and Jeff Whitten contributed to this story. See videos and other coverage online at www.coastalcourier.com and on our Facebook page.