The small town of Grand Ridge is mourning the loss of a young toddler this morning who was struck by a vehicle in the yard of a residence in Grand Ridge last evening around 4:20 p.m.
According to the traffic report filed by Florida Highway Patrol, “A blue Ford F250 driven by Mark Hodges of Grand Ridge was traveling in an easterly direction through the yard of 2236 Ray Avenue. A child was playing in the yard. Hodges failed to observe the child. As a result, the vehicle collided with the child. The child’s name is being withheld until all family is notified.
In an interview with Lieutenant Eddie W. Elmore with FHP following the accident, he said, “Today we had an incident with a vehicle versus a child. It was on a private residence. Essentially there were children playing in the front yard at which time a vehicle pulled into the yard and the driver didn’t see the child and struck the child and the child has been pronounced deceased at this time. Currently at any traffic homicide investigation, we start off looking at criminal charges and if there are no criminal charges associated with it, it goes down to just an infraction and then it keeps getting lowered as the elements of the crime doesn’t exist. So right now, all of our traffic homicide investigation starts as criminal and we are at the very beginning of our investigation at this point. We are not releasing any names. All of the family members need to be notified so we are withholding those names for the next several hours until we can get everybody notified. The age was a little over one year old.”
When asked why the first responders were at Dar-Bees, Elmore advised, “Essentially when the crash occurred there was a time lapse, the child was going to be transported via private vehicle. They were on the phone with EMS at which time EMS told them to pull over and they would meet them there and that is how they got to Dar-Bees in a personal vehicle. It was not the individual that struck the child that drove the child to Dar-Bees. We do have the individual, he is being interviewed as we speak and of course the traffic homicide investigation is at its infancy stage so once it’s completed, charges will be recommended at that time.”
Later reports from the Jackson County Correctional Institution show that Mark Hodges, 50, was booked into the facility Drive w/o License Causes Death/Serious Injury w/Vehicle.
The Times will update when more information is released.