Snowplow driver saves 5-year-old boy wandering streets in subzero cold

March 12, 2021
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A snowplow driver in Wisconsin is being hailed as a hero for saving a 5-year-old boy he found wandering the streets in subzero cold in the middle of the night.

David Gehrke was plowing streets early Friday morning around 4 a.m. in West Bend, Wisconsin, when he saw something by his wing blade.

“It was snowing, blowing and miserable,” Gehrke said. “I realized that was not a dog or a deer. That was a small little boy dressed in a pair of just a zip up, onesie pajamas. But that light on the side of my truck illuminated him. 4 a.m., and it’s like, ‘What is he doing out here?’”

Maddox Pierce, 5, was wandering alone in the cold. He had no shoes, hat or jacket, and temperatures were below zero. Gehrke turned his plow around and picked the boy up.

“I immediately took my jacket off, wrapped it around him and put him in the truck. I called police dispatch. I got the heat blasting in the truck. I’ll keep him warm until we get help on the way,” Gehrke said.

Officers put Maddox in the back seat of a cruiser and drove him home. The little boy told police he was scared because he thought he was home alone, so he headed for his grandpa’s house. His 14-year-old aunt had been babysitting while his mom, Brittany Weissenburger, was at work.

Weissenburger says she’s extremely grateful to Gehrke for saving her son.

“I’ve been a mess since everything happened. He’s never, ever done anything like that before,” she said. “I’m so thankful. What are the odds that he would find him at that exact moment that he pretty much came outside?”

Weissenburger says she’s taking steps to make sure Maddox doesn’t wander off again.

Police gave Gehrke a certificate of appreciation for finding the boy, who was not hurt in the ordeal. No one is being charged after it was determined nothing criminal happened.

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