Happy ending for wandering youthNeighbors are called heroes.
June 9, 2008 · Updated 3:24 PM
"Heidi McKay was on the phone with her mother-in-law, and her son Timothy was sitting in front of the heater.Suddenly, a neighbor was pounding on her door asking, Do you know that your son is out in the middle of the road? Neighbors saved the developmentally disabled youth Dec. 13, after he left the house without warning and was about to wander onto the highway.I panicked, McKay said, recalling the moment neighbor Christina Garrigues appeared at the door, and ran several blocks, yelling, and when I got around the corner I saw he was okay.Timothy McKay, a 14-year-old who was diagnosed with autism four years ago and who cannot communicate verbally, strayed from his house on the chilly morning wearing only a T-shirt. He began walking down West Port Madison Road toward Highway 305.When neighbors Garrigues, a Hyla Middle School student, and Tom Hujar spotted cars dodging McKay, they hurried to help out.I parked my car, Hujar said, and grabbed him by the waist to get him off the road - he was confused. Hujar then sent Garrigues to find the boy's mother. Realizing that he could not convince the youth to go home, Hujar decided to accompany him on his walk, keeping him a safe distance from traffic.McKay said that when Tim heard his mother yelling, he turned around and gave a big smile and ran towards (her).In the 15 to 20 minutes that Tim was gone, McKay and neighbors said, many things could have happened. If he had gotten lost, he would not have been able to tell anyone who he was or where he lived. He looks perfectly normal from the outside, McKay said, but he can't talk.There was no way to communicate to say 'what were you thinking?' McKay said that Tim has never left the house before without her knowing, and that his behavior that morning was very unusual.I feel like I am a good mom, she said. It just happened so fast - I am embarrassed, but I am so proud and thankful for my neighbors.I simply did what anyone else would do, Hujar said. Tim is such a sweetheart. I've known him since he was a baby.McKay said Bainbridge Island is a special place where neighbor still cares about neighbor.They took the time out of their busy schedules to help my son, she said. They saved my son's life... They are heroes. "