TSO saves toddler with seconds to spare

Thursday, October 6, 2022
Running trail photo

David Hudnall, a TSA officer from West Virginia’s Raleigh County Memorial Airport, put his life on the line to save a toddler from being struck by a car. 

Officer Hudnall photo
TSA Officer David Hudnall at a Raleigh County Memorial Airport checkpoint, ensuring the traveling public is safe. (Photo by George Whittaker)

Hudnall was off duty starting his daily run through the Oak Hill Trail. About five minutes into the first mile, something caught his attention.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the quick scurry of little feet. A toddler was running toward the road – right into the path of an oncoming Jeep. Hudnall didn’t have much time to act, let alone think.

He cut from his running path, heading straight to the boy. Within seconds, he scooped up the child and darted out of the way just in time.

“In an instant, I ran as fast as I could into the middle of the road, picked up the child and moved him to safety as quickly as possible,” Hudnall recalled.

Trail near Raleigh airport photo
Trail area where Raleigh County Memorial Airport TSA Officer David Hudnall deviated from the path into traffic. (Photo courtesy of David Hudnall)

Without his swift reaction, the outcome could have become a nightmare. The driver admitted he never saw the boy, but he did see Hudnall sprinting toward the road.

The driver veered and stopped the car inches from Hudnall and the boy.

After pulling the child to safety, Hudnall searched for the boy’s parents. The toddler was too young to communicate, but luckily, the mother was nearby frantically searching for him. Hudnall reunited the two, receiving praise and thanks, knowing he made a big difference that day.

Hudnall joined TSA a year and a half ago with an admirable pursuit.

“What brought me to TSA was knowing that I would be able to help and protect people,” Hudnall said.

By Kimberlyn Pepe, TSA Strategic Communications & Public Affairs