Police: Toddler struck by speeding car as driver talks on phone

MAGNOLIA — A car driver allegedly speeding while using a cell phone struck and seriously injured a 2-year-old boy riding a bicycle on Tuesday, Delaware State Police said.

The child was on the bike in Nascar Lane near Irish Hill Road in west Magnolia at about 3:30 p.m. when he was hit by a northbound 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche, state police said.

Witnesses claimed they saw the vehicle enter the neighborhood at a high rate of speed as driver Kenyanna S. Suarez, 30, of the first block of Nascar Lane in Magnolia, allegedly talked on her cell phone, according to state police.

In a probable cause affidavit, state police said Ms. Suarez denied speeding or talking on her phone.

She “stated that she felt a ‘thump’ and was unsure what she had struck with her vehicle. …

“(Ms. Suarez) stated that she stopped her vehicle in the middle of the roadway in reference to seeing what she had struck.

“It was at this time (Ms. Suarez) realized she had struck victim with her vehicle.”

According to a trooper in court papers, the child was struck by the vehicle’s front center bumper and an arriving trooper saw “severe road rash/large abrasion on … right side of the face, both of his knees, and minor road rash on his stomach area.”

The trooper reportedly provided medical assistance — keeping the boy’s neck from moving, documents indicated — until Emergency Medical Services personnel arrived on scene.

The child began crying and had difficulty breathing, according to court documents.

The investigating trooper said in papers that while interviewing Ms. Suarez, “I did not smell any alcoholic beverages on her breathe and she did not appear to be under the influence of any narcotics.”

Ms. Suarez later pleaded not guilty to all charges against her.

A witness claimed in court papers that the vehicle allegedly did not brake before hitting the child, who was then dragged along for approximately 30 feet before a controlled stop.

Another witness claimed in the affidavit she was “smoking a cigarette, looking out her window,” when she saw the Chevrolet Avalanche allegedly enter the neighborhood at a high rate of speed. She could not confirm the driver was using a cell phone.

The alleged incident happened when children were being dropped off by school buses as their parents waited outside, State Police spokesman Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said.

The injured boy, an area resident, was admitted to A.I. DuPont Hospital in serious condition after being airlifted from the scene by Delaware State Police Aviation, Cpl. Fournier said.

Ms. Suarez was transported to Troop 3 and charged with misdemeanor second-degree vehicular assault, driving while suspended or revoked, failure to have insurance in possession, failure to have license in possession, driving at unreasonable speed, and driving while using an electronic device (cell phone).

After arraignment through Justice of the Peace Court 2 in Rehoboth Beach, Ms. Suarez was released on $2,150 unsecured bond.

Her next court appearance is scheduled for May 31.

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