Death of boy, 4, is focus of investigation
The death of a 4-year-old boy who authorities say was run over by a van driven by his father is the focus of an investigation into the boy’s parent, a prosecutor said Thursday.
A charge of leaving the scene of the accident without speaking to authorities is preliminary and other charges could be filed, said Union County Prosecutor David Phillips.
“We’re more focused at this point on how this child died,” Phillips said after meeting with Ohio State Highway Patrol investigators. He added: “There are some questions concerning the trauma suffered by the child that I need answered.”
Phillips said he’s awaiting preliminary autopsy results on Angel Hernandez. Police say the boy died Dec. 26 after he was run over after falling out of his father’s van.
His father, Natividad de Jesus Hernandez, is being held on $500,000 bond ahead of a preliminary hearing Monday. Hernandez, 30, who is from El Salvador and not in the country legally, also has a federal immigration hold on him, Phillips said.
Hernandez was allowed to leave jail Thursday to attend his son’s funeral.
Hernandez’s attorney said Thursday he believes the preliminary charge will be dropped and other charges filed. Scott Culbert expects the case to go to trial. He said he couldn’t comment until he knew what else Hernandez might be charged with.
Culbert has challenged the charge of leaving the scene of the accident. He points to a video from a dashboard camera that shows a deputy sheriff arriving at the scene, taking the child from Hernandez and getting the boy into an ambulance.
The father is then left on the side of the road with his van and his girlfriend’s two children, the video shows.
Phillips said police and medics fully expected Hernandez to follow the ambulance to the hospital. Several agencies then tried to locate the van’s driver, he said.
“The dash-cam video only tells part of the story,” Phillips said.