“We don’t know yet whether there was anybody in the pickup truck at the time,” he said. “…Did somebody drive it forward?”
Criminal charges can’t be ruled out until the investigation is complete, Dodds said, but for now it’s being treated as an accident.
“It appears that this is probably just a tragic accident,” he said.
It’s a reminder to be alert when operating equipment of any kind, Dodds said, especially around children.
“Always be aware of your surroundings — What’s in front of you, what’s in back of you — before you move a piece of equipment,” he said.
Dodds knows it can be difficult to keep track of small children.
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“You see them here then the next thing you know, they’re gone,” he said.
Workers at LeVan’s Power Equipment in Bellefontaine said people should pay close attention to safety stickers on riding lawn mowers. They instruct users not to have others ride on the mower and to be careful, especially when backing up.
A neighbor who wished to remain anonymous told the Springfield News-Sun the family is stunned by the loss of the toddler.
Dodds said he and the rest of the sheriff’s department is praying for the family.
“My heart goes out to these parents that are going through that,” he said. “I can’t imagine the pain they’re going through.”