Quick thinking motorists were able to slam on their breaks and narrowly avoid hitting a 4-year-old Homosassa boy who was wandering the busy street barefoot, deputies say.
The boy's relative, Christopher Varner, 30, is now facing child neglect and knowingly driving on a suspended license charges.
According to Citrus County deputies, the little boy has run off numerous times before.
This time, he was found a half mile from his father's home on West Windhaven Place in the middle of Homosassa Trail, a two line road.
It was around 6:31 p.m. on December 11. It was the boy's birthday.
Deputies say multiple drivers slammed on their brakes, narrowly missing hitting the boy. An employee of a local business saw what happened and ran and grabbed the little boy out of harm's way.
Varner later drove up to the scene, looking for the little boy, and told deputies the boy had run away, an arrest affidavit shows.
According to deputies, they had been previously called out in July, August and October. During the October call, the little boy was once again found on Homosassa Trail. In July, the boy was found at the intersection of Stewart Lane and Kings Avenue, which is across Homosassa Trail.
Deputies located the boy's mother, who told them she had dropped the little boy at his father's house 25 minutes prior to his disappearance. She said she found out her son was missing when Varner left her a Facebook message stating, "Your kid is missing," and arrest affidavit states.
The boy's father told authorities extended family live in three neighboring houses and he permitted his son to run over and play. When the boy's father went looking for him, the relative reportedly told him, the boy had gone missing and run down the street.
Deputies say Varner lied about walking the boy home and later confessed to lying about chasing after the little boy when he saw him run away.
Varner couldn't have walked the boy home because he suffers from neck and back problems, an arrest affidavit states.
Varner, who showed up on scene in car, was arrested. Deputies say he did not have a valid license.
According to deputies, Varner said the little boy had run away five time prior and "this should not be his problem."