Virginia father jailed after toddler found walking alone on road

A Montvale, Virginia, man was arrested and charged with felony child neglect after his toddler was found walking on a road alone.

According to a press release from the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office,  at approximately 6:12 p.m. June 18, Bedford County 9-1-1 dispatchers received a call from a motorist telling them she had found a small child, 18 to 20 months old, on the side of Quarterwood Road in Montvale. The caller told dispatch that the child was unattended and standing at the end of a driveway.

When Bedford County deputies responded, they talked to several motorists who had stopped to check on the child. One of the motorist told police when they came around the curve of the road, the child was walking in the middle of the road and they had to slam on the brakes to keep from hitting the child.

Deputies canvassed the area looking for the child’s parents. Bedford County Child Protective Services investigators were contacted and responded to the scene, transporting the child to Bedford Memorial Hospital for examination.

The residence at the end of the driveway where the child was found was checked several times but no one was found to be home. As it became darker outside, officers who were concerned about the child and anyone else possibly in the home entered the residence through an unlocked door. They found evidence of a child living there and the possible identity of the parents.

At approximately 10 p.m., deputies were able to contact the child’s father, Nicholas Grooters, by phone. Grooters told the deputies he was at work. A deputy advised him to come home because his child had been found on side of the road.

After arriving at the residence, Grooters, 26,  was arrested and charged with felony child neglect. He is being held in the Bedford Adult Detention Center with no bond.

The child’s mother, who lives in Roanoke, was also contacted and responded to the BCSO. Sheriff Mike Brown will be commending the motorists who stopped and assisted the child at a later date. Their actions inevitably saved this little boy from grave bodily harm or possibly death, the release said.

The child is in the custody of Bedford County Social Services and the investigation is ongoing.