SHEPHERDSVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) – A tearful mother is opening up about what she says is the biggest regret of her life: running into a store while her 13-month-old daughter slept in the car.
"It's the worst mistake I've ever made," Kayla Simpers said.
She said it was a quick decision to go by the UPS store in Shepherdsville Monday morning with her baby girl.
"She just had her one-year-old shots, and she had been screaming the entire way from the doctor’s office, and she had just fallen asleep," she said. "I literally laid [the package] on the counter and left."
Police say that's when Joshua Reynolds, 22, jumped in the driver's seat and took off with the toddler was in the back, while admittedly on meth.
"He first hit a car," Simpers explained, "and there was a lady, she was in it."
She said she immediately jumped in front of her silver Ford SUV and screamed at Reynolds that there was a baby in the backseat before frantically calling 911.
"My poor 911 dispatcher, I was hysterical, and I yelled at him and I didn't mean it," Simpers sobbed. "It changes you, in that moment when you know, it's your baby.”
She said the next 12 minutes were the longest of her life before a Hillview officer became her hero.
"It was a miracle," Simpers said of Hillview Police Sgt. Kyle McAllister's keen eyes that spotted her car near the Brooks Rd. Exit in the northbound lanes of I-65.
Simpers said she is forever grateful to McAllister and all the emergency personnel who helped rescue her daughter.
"My momma was an EMT and a firefighter," she said of her mother. "We lost her in May, and my baby is named for her, and I really believe she was watching out for her yesterday."
Simpers’ grandfather was also a former chief at Hillview Police Department.
"While I had so many angels," she said, "all it took was one to ruin it all. Please watch your babies. Hold them close."
Simpers has faced some scrutiny on social media, but she said Monday’s incident was a wake-up call. She plans to never leave her child unattended again.
Joshua Reynolds was arraigned Tuesday and pled not guilty to multiple charges including kidnapping, wanton endangerment and DUI. According to court records he was already on probation from a robbery in Jefferson County in 2018.
His bond is set at $10,000 cash.