I have a personal rule to remain silent when it comes to criminal cases and let justice take its course. Just be a silent witness to the process and just report on it. As I’ve heard people say, rules are meant to be broken. Let’s do that, just once (maybe twice). Become rebels, with or without, a cause.
Bad things shouldn’t happen to children. When bad things do happen to them, it bothers me immensely.
Any criminal activity involving children is especially troublesome. I’m calm on the outside, steadfast to my profession, but on the inside I’m seething.
Such was the case on Friday when I’m working away on government meetings and 911 dispatchers report of a 6-year-old child being transported to Saint Thomas River Park after being struck by a passing motorist.
Everything I was doing came to an abrupt halt, as I cranked up the scanner and started taking notes that I might need later for the who, what, when, where, why and how. My mind was screaming no, no, no and please, please, please let this boy be OK.
For the next three to four hours I listen as Tennessee Highway Patrol, Warren County Sheriff’s Department and McMinnville Police Department swarmed the area, searching anywhere and everywhere for the truck. One deputy saw marks left by a vehicle leading off the road into a hayfield. He investigated that, too, which shows the dedication. Awesome job from law enforcement.
When state trooper Ben Cannon sent me a picture of the truck believed to be the one involved in the hit-and-run incident, we were quick to get it on our website and Facebook page. I remember saying to James Clark, “I want this guy. Someone will recognize this truck. I just know it.” Within a couple minutes, he had it posted.
Someone did recognize the truck and reported it. I wouldn’t hesitate to turn someone into authorities, but I understand that not everyone feels that way. Some people just don’t want to get involved, even when it is the right thing to do. Kudos to this guy. You did the right thing. Be proud of yourself. We did reach out to that man, but he declined to comment.
Up until late Friday evening I received updates on the investigation, the arrest and the booking process. What I really wanted was this guy’s mugshot.
Not in my article due to it being the last update I received on the case, state trooper Cannon informed me that Mr. Lopez was talking about the crash and allegedly stated that he saw the boy and swerved to miss him.
Here’s my two cents, and that might be all its worth: if you can hit someone – child or adult – with your vehicle and just drive off, you are coldblooded and heartless. Now, let’s let the district attorney’s office do its job.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.