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Lakewood Police help father, daughter living out of car

James Schweikhard says he isn't used to getting help from police.
James Scheikhard's SUV getting repaired.


LAKEWOOD - James Schweikhard says he isn't used to getting help from police. The 41-year-old moved to Colorado from Oklahoma in August with his 10-year-old daughter.

"I packed everything up that we own in the truck and there and we just drove here," he said. "It was more of a risk staying in Oklahoma. I couldn't get a job for anything, couldn't get a place to live."

Since August, the two have been living in the Suburban but Schweikhard's 10-year-old daughter was going to school.

And it was the school that called Lakewood Police recently, because they were concerned the girl was living in a car.

Lakewood Police Officer James Butler went to see what's going on.

"I saw them looking at my truck, I said, 'Officers, what is going on?'" Schweikhard said. "[He] said 'We're trying to help you.' I said 'Ok, I can accept that."

"I'm not used to getting help from cops," Schweikhard added.

By then, the family's vehicle (and home) had died. Because he couldn't drive, Schweikhard lost his job. But continued walking his daughter to school.

Butler decided to help.

"It was the right thing to do," he said. "Because at any point in time in our lives anyone of us can be in that same situation offering assistance to another human being is the right thing to do."

Lakewood Police connected the father-daughter duo with a shelter, where they've been staying the last two days. Ace Towing took the broken SUV to Sun Valley Automotive Thursday, both companies are donating their services.

"Feels really different to help someone who you know is down on their luck," said Jere Burton, Sun Valley Automotive owner.

Lakewood Police officers who heard the story Thursday will also help the family get permanent housing faster.

Schweikhard is ever so grateful, relieved and surprised that strangers came through for him and his daughter. "I think it's awesome, I think it's really cool, very unexpected, but very cool," he said.

His first contact with a Colorado police officer was in Limon, when he ran out of gas and the officer there helped him out.

(© 2015 KUSA)

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