An Ohio father ran over his child twice in his own driveway, distracted while texting, according to police officers.
Chad Daugherty, a Columbus police officer, said that Trenton Cook, 24, ran over his child twice earlier this year.
Daugherty told the court during a preliminary hearing for Cook on July 31 that Cook was coming home from work on ay 8 when his car ran out of gas and he called a friend to bring some gas over.
He then continued to his home and saw his girlfriend’s children playing outside in the driveway, so he paused to let them move out of the way.
However, when he pulled in, he felt a bump. He put the car in reverse and backed up, feeling the bump again.
After exiting the car, Cook realized that he’d run over his 22-month old son Zakai Cook, who he rushed inside as he called for his girlfriend to dial 911. The toddler later died at the hospital.
Police officers initially couldn’t figure out how Cook hadn’t seen the boy, but they then checked his cell phone data and saw he’d sent a text at 2:04 p.m. The 911 call came in at 2:05 p.m.
Cook admitted he was using his phone while driving but claimed he didn’t recall sending a text at that time.
“He should have been a little more aware,” Daugherty told Judge Mike Joyner during the hearing, reported The Sun Herald.
Police found no evidence of intent, the officer added, noting that the father was certainly concerned for his child.
Public defender Lindsey Brown noted that what happened was an accident and that her client had been erroneously booked into jail on a felony but that he was actually charged with a misdemeanor.
Joyner agreed and set Cook’s bond at $2,800.
In a statement on GoFundMe, a family member said young Zakai was running toward the car to greet his father.
“My nephew Zakai heard/saw his Father’s truck pulling in the driveway after a long day at work,” wrote Tahzma Wicker.
“Zakai loves his Daddy and is always excited to greet him. In an instant, he was darting to the truck, I’m sure with open arms for his Father to pick him up and throw him in the air. Sadly, instead, he ran into the pathway of his Father’s truck without being seen.”
Neighbor Ty Qwon James told WTVM that the family is hurt by the death.
“I know the family is hurt. Really hurt. She didn’t even get a chance to hold the baby or take care of the baby. I know she’s hurt,” he said.
“I’m sorry that he was charged. I’m sorry he was distracted. God bless them, and God be with them. We have to forgive him in order for us to get over it. We have to forgive him,” he added.