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Sandstone day care closed after girl found wandering on highway

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SANDSTONE, Minn. -- Authorities ordered a Sandstone day care center closed Wednesday after a 3-year-old from the center was found wandering along Minnesota Highway 23 and sheriff’s deputies saw possible signs that the day care provider was intoxicated.

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The incident began at about 3:30 p.m. when the Pine County Sheriff’s Office received 911 calls reporting that a passerby found the girl walking on the highway. Responding deputies found the girl in the arms of a woman who had seen the girl walking on the highway. The woman saw at least one vehicle swerve around the child. The woman ran to the girl and carried her to safety.

The deputies canvassed the area looking for the girl’s home, locating a day care center about one block from where the girl was found. The center had a fenced play area filled with several children. The gate to the play area was standing open.

The deputies met the day care provider and determined that girl had come from the center. While talking with the provider, the deputies saw signs of intoxication and performed field sobriety tests.

Pine County Child Protection arrived and ordered the center closed. Authorities notified the parents of the children present, and remained on the scene until all the children had been picked up.

The incident is under investigation and will be sent to the Pine County Attorney’s Office for a charging decision.

Sandstone is about 65 miles southwest of Duluth.

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