DOCS: Lincoln mom arrested after 5-year-old found in rush hour traffic

A Lincoln mother has been charged with child neglect after her five-year-old son was reportedly found on a busy street during rush hour. 

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – A Lincoln mother has been charged with child abuse after her five-year-old son was reportedly found on a busy street during rush hour.

A man told Lincoln Police he was driving on Capital Parkway near 27th St. when he saw the boy in the street.

The man reported he had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting the child.

The man got the boy, who has autism and is non-verbal, out of the street before the child ran off into the nearby Sunken Gardens, according to court documents.

Officers ultimately determined the boy belonged to 27-year-old Niccole Lane.

According to an affidavit for her arrest, officers found Lane drunk at a nearby U-Stop. Police say she had a BAC of .171.

Lane told officers she was at home and “needed a break,” so she decided to go to the U-Stop to “take some shots and get intoxicated,” according to court documents.

Officers wrote in the affidavit that Lane told them she had locked her son in a room inside their apartment and then left him to go get drunk.

“Defendant laughed and made a bible reference stating her autistic son could not be harmed,” officers wrote in the document.

Lane appeared in court Wednesday where a judge set her bond at $50,000, according to court records.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for later this month.

Cris Petersen, an advocate for autistic children, and who has a 6-year -old autistic child herself, explains to Channel 8 News what the child may have been experiencing.

“If a child is in the middle of an intersection and they have autism, they are already in a major sensory overload, and they are in a fight or flight situation,” Petersen says.

Petersen says from the outside looking in, it appears as if Lane may not have had access to resources to help her with her child. She wants other parents of children with disabilities to know that there is always help.

“It is not uncommon for families and parents of kids with disabilities to feel overwhelmed and stressed out, not know what to do and not know where to go.”

Petersen also works with the Lincoln Police Department to help train officers on how to identify and make contact with people or children who may have developmental disabilities.

“When someone comes up to them and they’re a stranger and they do take off then that should be the first clue to the officer they need to have some tools in their toolbox that says okay I need to build a relationship with this child right away,” she says.

One program she works with, Project Lifesaver, allows those with disabilities to be tracked by Lincoln Police and Lincoln Fire and Rescue using a magnetic bracelet in case they wander off without a supervisor or parent.

Petersen also has a website where she links other important resources for families with children who have autism or other disabilities, including links to Medicaid, applying for disability and handicapped tags, and much more.

She also hosts a support group via Zoom for parents and families to connect and share stories, experiences, and helpful parenting tips. Petersen says anyone who is struggling is always welcome to reach out to her as well.

Categories: Nebraska News, News, Top Stories