North Carolina day care closing after children wander off, found on busy highway

A day care in North Carolina is set to close after six of the children being cared for at the center wandered away from teachers in December and onto a busy highway, officials said Monday.

The children, ages 2 and 3, at the Pinedale Christian Day Care Inc. in Winston-Salem were able to flee the school undetected on Dec. 4. A minister at the Pinedale Christian Church, where the day care is located, said at the time that leaders of the congregation were "devastatingly embarrassed."

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“It was disbelief, and it was shock, and then at some point it was complete devastation,” minister Matthew Sink told WGHP at the time. "We’re thankful we’re not talking about a tragedy today because the what-ifs on this are heavy."

Two teachers were watching over a class of 20 children on the playground when the six kids ran off. On Monday, a spokesperson for the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services said the day care "voluntarily" decided to close.

Church officials at the Pinedale Christian Church in North Carolina decided to shut down their day care, six months after six children wandered off undetected.

Church officials at the Pinedale Christian Church in North Carolina decided to shut down their day care, six months after six children wandered off undetected. (Google)

“The decision to close was made voluntarily by the facility, and they have been working cooperatively with (the division) during this process,” Sarah Peel told the Winston-Salem Journal.

Peel said that church leaders made the decision a few weeks ago, six months after the incident, in which the six toddlers exited through a door, down a church hallway and to the front doors of the church.

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Five of the children ended up on the Peters Creek Parkway, while the sixth child was found at the front doors. Officials said he was too young to understand how to open the door.

Drivers who spotted the children and a local police officer worked to return the kids to the day care.