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Mother and child rescued from car wreck by off-duty Arkansas officer

An off-duty officer from a county over sprang into action when traffic built up during the morning commute— now, many are calling him a hero.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — If you've traveled on Interstate 30 in Little Rock, you probably know how much of a hassle navigating the construction has been— but for one Arkansas family, their morning commute turned into a nightmare.

Thankfully, Marvin Cawthon, an off-duty Pine Bluff police officer, sprang into action.

"Yeah, I'm off duty, but I'm just doing my job [and] I helped someone," Cawthon said.

On Wednesday around 9 a.m., he said that he was heading to North Little Rock through the middle of the construction to get some supplies for his other job.

He recalled that all of a sudden, the traffic stopped abruptly.

"I saw people get out of their vehicles [and] I thought this isn't normal," Cawthon described.

He said that he left his car to investigate the traffic jam and immediately knew that he had to intervene and help.

"I noticed that it was a black vehicle turned on its side and I hear someone say 'there is a baby inside,'" said Cawthon.

The vehicle turned out to have a mother and child trapped inside.

The officer climbed on top of the damaged vehicle, opened the car door, and managed to safely get the baby and his mother out.

"He was bleeding [and] leaking blood from his head... there was blood coming from his face," Cawthon described.

He said that after the rescue, he jumped in to handle the traffic.

"Here I am holding the baby, you know, directing traffic, because no one else was available," Cawthon said.

The mom wasn't able to speak on camera with us on Friday, but Cawthon has been in contact with her and said that the mom considers him her "guardian angel."

"What's the chances of an [off-duty] police officer being in a spot where a police officer couldn't get to at that very moment," said Cawthon. 

Quite honestly, none of us may ever know what led him to be in the right place at the right time to rescue the family.

"It was an exit that I could have taken [and] if I would have just gotten in the next lane, I could've gotten there and headed off," Cawthon explained.

He expressed how grateful he was to have been able to, perhaps, save the lives of this family.

However, he believed that something was responsible for him being near the accident and readily available to assist.

"It wasn't anything that I'm taking credit for," he said. "I wasn't even supposed to be there at the moment, but clearly I was supposed to be there."

We have been in contact with the mother, and she said that her child suffered a minor injury but is recovering well.


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