Bryant Collins spent 10 years in jail for drugs.  But he got out five years ago, turned his life around, and works as a mechanic now.

On Friday morning, Bryant was driving down a highway near Athens, Georgia when he spotted something moving on the side of the road.  Which 99 times out of a hundred is going to be an animal.

But this time it wasn't . . . it was a 15-month-old baby that was about to crawl across the road.

Luckily, Bryant spotted her in time, slammed on his brakes, and saved her.  It turns out her parents weren't paying attention, and she'd crawled away from their house . . . which was almost a quarter mile away.

After police showed up, so did her 37-year-old father Timothy Pickens, who tried to grab her and ended up shoving one of the cops.  He was arrested for cruelty to children, reckless conduct, and obstructing an officer.

Meanwhile, Bryant stuck around for two hours to stay with her.  Police say the mother might also be facing charges.