A cool but sunny early fall afternoon in West Peoria. Birds were chirping, cyclists and joggers were out in abundance, and it seemed as if everyone had a smile on their face except Gorko reporter Lil Smockinger.
‘When I first saw it [Ronald Butters, toddler, 18 months] running across the grass I thought my heart had stopped. There, gripped between its teething gums, was a grape flavoured [flavored] candy lolly [British term for sucker],’ reported the stunned reporter. ‘I knew immediately I must go and save the lil sprog’s life.’
More than 13 babies have died from accidental choking incidents in Peoria parks since 1691, half of those (7.5) from grape or cherry suckers. ‘Choking hazard aside, there are the health risks to be considered from the high sugar content in a [standard sucker],’ said Lil.
Yet taking candy from a baby would not prove to be as easy a task as Lil Smockinger first imagined, for that reporter was about to get right between the proverbial mama bear and her cub.
‘This son of a bleeping beach come up to my baby, my little Ronny, and tries to yank his candy out of his poor little mouth! Well my Ronny was not borned yesterday, he come up fighting, he gave this es oh bee a run for his no-good money, I tell ya!’ commented the distraught mother of Ronald Butters, hands on hips, to two bicycle cops.
According to other eyewitnesses of the scene, Lil Smockinger initially gripped the grape sucker by its stick in a fruitless attempt to remove it from the baby’s mouth, as Ronny’s mother beat Smockinger over the head and shoulders with her large purse. Small Ronald then removed the sucker from his mouth, holding it behind his back, and proceeded to lunge at Smockinger with his small but sharp little teeth.
‘Next time I try to take candy from a baby,’ moaned Smockinger, holding a handkerchief to a bleeding nose, ‘I am going to bring a fishing net.’
No charges were filed in the incident by either party.