GLOVERVILLE - The pursuit of Ian Enlow ended with him clasping a pilfered soda and a toy from a convenience store a half-mile away.
On Tuesday afternoon, the 4-year-old bolted from his classroom at Gloverville Elementary School, eluded teachers and ran to Peggy's Minit Shop on South Carolina Highway 421.
"He's a sweet little boy, but he's a workout," said his mother, Debra Craigo. "He's very hyper."
Principal Dwight Smith said that the boy has a history of getting away from the teachers but that he has never left school grounds before.
In his most recent Houdini act, Ian left a teacher in the dust, speeding down hallways and eventually disappearing, Mr. Smith said.
"So we mobilized everybody in the school to try to find the little fellow. I mean everybody, everywhere. We were going nuts," he said.
Those who were looking for Ian were unaware he had left school premises, the principal said.
The school got a call a few minutes later from an employee at the convenience store, asking if it had lost a little boy.
"He is very quick and very smart, but I am amazed at how far he went in such a short period of time," Mr. Smith said.
"(Teachers) are extremely careful with the children," said Troy Nobles, the assistant superintendent for Area 3 schools. "I can't guess what's in a child's mind. In this particular situation, they are dealing with one that apparently has a tendency to roam.
"I think they are aware of that now, and they are going to heighten their degree of awareness of this young person."
Ms. Craigo said those precautions would not be necessary because she intends to withdraw her son from the program for 4-year-olds at the school.
"As a concerned mother, schools should be the place where I won't have to worry about my child," she said.
Ms. Craigo said that she will not pursue legal action but that she wishes the school had taken better precautions.
Reach Sara Bancroft at (803) 279-6895 or firstname.lastname@example.org.