A Monday back-to-school shoe-shopping trip left Ben Theriot, a soon-to-be seventh grader, dubbed a hero. Kelsy Schlotthauer/Tulsa World

Update (10:30 a.m. Thursday): A Tulsa Police spokeswoman told Tulsa World the child was checked out by medical professionals and did not suffer injury after the incident. 

According to TPD Officer Jeanne Pierce, the case was referred to the Department of Human Services upon the mother retaking custody of the child. Pierce said it was the woman's first offense under the Forget Me Not city ordinance.

A Tulsa 12-year-old is being hailed as a hero after he broke a windshield to save a child from a hot car.

Ben Theriot, a soon-to-be seventh grader, said he and his mom had just parked Monday afternoon at a store near 41st Street and Yale Avenue to search for a pair of back-to-school shoes when his mother heard a baby screaming in the car next to theirs.

Ben said that when he looked through the car’s windows, he saw a red-faced, crying baby buckled into a car seat in the back of the car. The car was turned off, and all of its windows were rolled up, he said.

His mother, Nicole Fields, called 911, but the two decided they couldn’t chance another minute — Monday’s temperatures reached 99 degrees, resulting in a stifling 113-degree heat index.

After they tried the sunroof and doors, Ben said, he ran to the back of his mom’s car and found a ratchet strap with a hook.

He tried a side window first, hitting it twice, but his strikes left only a scrape, he said.

“Then we tried the front windshield, and it cracked,” Ben said. “And I started hitting it a lot more.”

The commotion drew a store employee, who Ben said brought out a pole from a clothes rack to help. Ben said he used the hook on the strap to pull at the windshield and that when the hole was big enough, he climbed onto the hood to reach through and unlock the doors.

Ben’s father, Pete Theriot, said the employee took the baby into the store and that Ben and Fields followed.

The baby’s mother was called to the front of the store, and she told them she had left the baby in the car with her disabled aunt, Theriot said.

“She didn’t cry or nothing,” Ben said. “She just asked for her baby back, and they said no.

“She didn’t even get arrested. She only got a $250 ticket.”

Police wrote the mother a ticket for a municipal misdemeanor under the Forget Me Not Safety Ordinance.

Later, the aunt showed up and said the baby’s mother had dropped her off at a store down the street, Ben said.

Ben plays baseball, and he said the only other time he’s broken a car window was a Christmas Eve some time ago, when he shattered a car’s back glass after throwing a rock into the air. He was grounded then, but for this break, he’s being hailed a hero.

After realizing that Ben was too young to fill out a witness statement, an officer walked with him, asking him how many 12-year-olds he thought would do what he did.

Ben didn’t know, but officers told him not many would spring into action like he did, Theriot said.

“I’m proud,” Ben said.

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Kelsy Schlotthauer


Twitter: @K_Schlott 

Staff Writer

Kelsy graduated with a journalism degree from Oklahoma State University in 2018 and moved to Colorado to cover breaking news before The World called her home in 2019. Follow her on Twitter for real-time reports. Phone: (918) 581-8455

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