Toddler Fatally Hit By Truck Wandered Away From Teen Babysitter: Police

A 15-month-old Ohio boy walked onto a roadway where he was hit by a pickup truck, while his 17-year-old caregiver was unaware he had left the house, and later died from his injuries, state police said.

The toddler, identified as Wyatt Stoller, died in the hospital on Saturday from injuries sustained when he was struck by a silver 2019 Ford F-150 pickup just before 8 p.m. Friday along Eby Road in Milton Township, according to an Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP) press release obtained by Newsweek on Monday.

OSHP spokesperson Sergeant Bridget Matt was unable to answer Newsweek’s questions on whether the teenage caregiver will face charges and how the toddler managed to get out of the house.

Matt said in an email to Newsweek on Monday night, “Unfortunately, I am unable to answer the additional questions that you asked due to the investigation still being open and ongoing.”

Police tape is pictured in Monterey Park, California, in January. A 15-month-old Ohio boy died on Saturday from injuries sustained when he was hit by a pickup truck one day prior.
Frederic J. BROWN / AFP/Getty

OSHP’s Wooster Post was contacted about a “serious injury crash” in Milton Township, about 30 miles east of Akron, at roughly 7:57 p.m. Friday, according to the press release.

The driver of the pickup truck, Brian Polen, 43, Smithville, Ohio, was heading south on Eby Road from State Route 604 in a pickup truck when he struck the child, who was “standing in the road,” according to OSHP.

Sterling Fire and EMS personnel responded to the scene, where a Life Flight was “immediately summoned.” Stoller was flown to Akron Children’s Hospital where he died the following day. The investigation revealed that the child had wandered away from a nearby home and his 17-year-old caregiver was “unaware he was in the road” when he was hit, OSHP said.

The driver and his passenger were not injured and the F-150 was towed from the crash site, as standard procedure for the investigation, according to police.

Speed is not believed to be a factor at this time, OSHP Sergeant Robert Gable told the Akron Beacon Journal, adding that could change as the investigation continues.

An obituary for the 15-month-old says Stoller leaves behind his parents, three siblings and grandparents, as well as dozens of aunts, uncles and cousins. The little boy loved farming with his dad, especially riding the tractor with him, and going for walks with his mom in the garden.

“Wyatt was a ray of sunshine brightening each room he entered, always ready to catch your eye, tip his head, and grin,” the obituary reads. “His blond curls, soft brown twinkling eyes, and magnetic personality charmed his way into all of our hearts. “

A relative of the little boy shared heartbreaking images on social media of Stoller’s parents and siblings saying goodbye to him at the hospital.

“Yesterday, we caressed and kissed those tiny toes and fingers that were so painfully still,” a family member said in a Sunday Facebook post, adding, “now our little sweetheart got to go to Jesus before us.”

“The fifteen months we had with Wyatt are so unbelievably precious and we wouldn’t give them up to avoid having this pain now,” the post reads. “We are richer, fuller, deeper, and better to have loved and lost Wyatt than to never have loved him.”

The toddler’s funeral service will be held on Tuesday at Smithville Apostolic Christian Church in Sterling, and the burial will take place at the Apostolic Cemetery in Rittman, according to the obituary.

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