SELLERSBURG, Ind. (WAVE) - “A horrific accident that cost one young man his life,” Police Chief Russ Whelan said of the heartbreaking situation for the Sellersburg community after a 2-year-old boy died after a fall from a scooter.
Police were called to the 2100 block of Washington Drive at about 7 p.m. Monday and found the toddler unconscious and unresponsive on the roadway. He’d been playing outside at the time with other young children. When officers arrived with EMS workers, people already were performing CPR on the child. He was taken to Clark Memorial Hospital, where he later died.
“Very, very tragic and something that will be felt in and out of the community for a very long time,” Whelan said.
Officers met with young children Tuesday at the Indian Oaks Pointe mobile home park to talk with them about the accident that killed their playmate. Police said one of the children was pushing the toddler on the scooter, something he loved, but while taking a turn he fell.
“Unfortunately, (he) also hit his head and I believe that’s probably going to be what cost him his life,” Whelan said.
The boy’s 12-year-old brother was among the children playing with him at the time. Their father was at home, his mother at work. There was no adult supervision of the children playing outside at the time, but Whelan said that may not have prevented the accident.
The child was not wearing a helmet at the time.
Norton Children’s Hospital said it’s a simple step, but can prevent 88 percent of brain injuries.
“You need to wear these every time you’re on something wheeled,” said Sharon Rengers, manager of prevention and wellness at Norton Children’s Hospital.
Norton’s sees a number of scooter accidents each year, mainly in older kids and mostly boys. But most of those accidents aren’t serious.
“The majority of the time they’re not; they’re falls, they’re scrapes, might be broken bones,” Rengers said. “But you just always have to be prepared for the worst.”
Police are continuing their investigation into the accident. The tragedy was felt Tuesday all around the community.
“I never met these parents before or the child before,” Whelan said. “None of that matters. You have that sympathy as a parent. They woke up this morning with the loss of a child and I can’t even imagine.”
The child’s identity has not yet been released pending notification of family.
Norton Children’s Hospital said because young children do not have their balance or judgment fully developed yet, they recommend that children under 5 years old do not use wheeled toys or equipment like a scooter.
“I’ve got two of those same scooters in my garage, probably not going to stay there much longer now and again you can’t protect them from everything but when something like this happens it just makes you think of your own kids if you’re a parent,” Whelan said.
It’s the type of tragedy that’s unexplainable, even for seasoned Sellersburg officers.
Jenni Alvarez has seven grandchildren and she works in Sellersburg.
“It’s devastating just knowing that I have my own grandkids, one that age and I can’t even imagine what it would be like to lose them,” Alvarez said. “The whole way it happened is just, it’s not right. If my grandson were to walk out the front door he would have been down the street in two seconds so we don’t ever let him out of our sight.”
The autopsy held Tuesday afternoon showed the preliminary cause of death is blunt force trauma.
Police said the pathologist didn’t discover anything unexpected during the autopsy that would indicate this was anything other than a tragic accident.
“Everybody kind of knows everybody’s business so it is, it’s kind of like a tragedy for the whole community,” Alvarez said.