(HOLTON) - A driver was texting when he struck and killed a toddler in southeastern Indiana on Thursday night, police said.
RTV6 reports, Jonathon Phillips, 19, told officials he was focusing on his cellphone when he hit 14-month-old Adrik Hanaway in the 4700 block of West Hopewell Road in Holton at about 7 p.m. Thursday.
Phillips told officials he looked away from the road to set his cellphone down after he was texting when he hit Hanaway.
When officials arrived at the scene, they found Hanaway in the middle of the road. Emergency crews transported the child to Jennings County Hospital and then later Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, where he was pronounced dead.
Phillips said he thought he had struck an animal, but later realized it was the child.
Officials said Hanaway was playing in the yard of a house on the roadway with his siblings before the accident, but it is not yet clear why the child went into the street.
Authorities said Phillips was very distraught after the accident, but said he cooperated with investigators completely. Officers said they do not believe alcohol or drugs were a factor in the accident.
The accident is being investigated by the Ripley County Sheriff's Office.
"Law enforcement cannot reiterate enough driving a vehicle requires all of the driver's attention," Dearborn County officials said in a news release. "Communication devices, radios, eating, reading material and applying makeup, to name a few, are all things officers observe on the roadways that distracts drivers and leads to tragedies such as this."
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