Checking the mail proved perilous for a 6-year-old on Friday. A man has been charged with allegedly striking the boy with his truck and leaving the scene.
According to Tennessee Highway Patrol, the boy was checking the mail at 620 Highland Road, just off Bluff Springs Road, when he was reportedly struck by a passing pickup. The mother “snatched him up out of the roadway and headed toward the hospital,” according to state trooper Ben Cannon.
En route, she gave a description of the truck and its direction of travel to 911.
State trooper Ben Cannon says Juan Alejandro Jantes-Lopez, 21, has been charged with reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident involving injury, driving under the influence, driving without a license, and possession of drug paraphernalia. He is being held under $180,000 bond at Warren County Jail.
“I’d like to thank the Warren County Sheriff’s Department and McMinnville Police Department for their quick action in this case,” said Cannon. “Those efforts brought a quick resolution to this situation.”
The incident occurred at approximately 11:40 a.m. Lopez was taken into custody at 2:53 p.m. at 212 Willow Run.”
During that three-hour timeframe, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Warren County Sherriff’s Department and McMinnville Police Department combed the county in an attempt to locate the pickup.
“The vehicle was traveling southbound on Highland Road heading toward McMinnville,” said Cannon, in providing the Southern Standard with a description of the vehicle allegedly involved and a picture taken from a surveillance camera at a home about one mile from the scene.
“We need to get this picture out there as fast as we can and hopefully someone recognizes it,” said Cannon. “The picture was taken at 11:38 a.m. and the call about the hit-and-run came in at 11:43 a.m. We believe this to be the truck involved in the crash.”
The truck was described as a white Chevrolet with slightly tinted windows. An estimated year of 2000 to 2003 was given. It was believed to have sustained damage to the front driver’s side.
Left at the scene was after-market ground effects from the driver’s side of the pickup and the front Chevy emblem.
The picture and description was immediately placed on the Standard’s Facebook page at 2:28 p.m. Sixteen minutes later, Allen Dodd posted, “Fairly certain I know this truck. Just called it in so they can check it out.”
Eight minutes after the post, officers ran the tags of a white Chevy truck parked at a home on Willow Run and notified dispatch at 2:53 p.m. that they had “one in custody.”
“Mr. Lopez declined to speak with us, but we examined his truck,” said Cannon. “All the pieces found at the scene fit like a puzzle on it. I’m 100% certain that this is the truck involved in the crash.”
The victim’s mother witnessed part of the accident.
“The mother said she witnessed the truck drive through her yard and then she noticed her son lying in the road. She snatched him up out of the roadway and headed toward the hospital. We don’t know if the child was in the road and the driver swerved to miss him and entered the yard or if the child was at the edge of the yard and the driver swerved and struck the child. Our Criminal Investigations Division is investigating.”
After initial treatment at Saint Thomas River Park, the boy was transported to Vanderbilt. According to a Facebook post from his mother, his most serious injury is a broken leg.