A 1-1/2-year-old toddler was struck by a hit-and-run driver Wednesday morning at Kacey Drive and West Oglethorpe Highway in Hinesville.
The child, who escaped serious injury, was ejected from his stroller when it was struck by a vehicle allegedly driven by an 81-year-old Ludowici man, according to Hinesville Police Department Traffic Accident Investigator Lt. Max McLendon.
The incident happened when the child, his grandmother, Ilona Santiago, and his aunt, Michelle Santiago, were crossing Kacey Drive in a crosswalk shortly after 11:30 a.m. Booker T. Smith allegedly rolled through the intersection and hit the stroller with the right front corner of his 1998 Saturn. The child was ejected and according to Ilona Santiago, the car’s rear tire rolled over the boy.
McLendon said Smith turned right onto Oglethorpe Highway and continued driving.
Calvin Barrett, a witness, called 911 and followed Smith until Liberty County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Wayman Chapman caught up to them. McLendon escorted Smith back to Kacey Drive, where the toddler’s grandmother and aunt identified him as the driver of the vehicle that struck the stroller.
The toddler was taken by helicopter to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, where he was kept overnight and released Thursday afternoon, according to McLendon. He sustained only bumps and bruises.
Smith, who told authorities he was unaware he had struck the child, was charged with misdemeanor running a stop sign, leaving the scene of an accident and having an expired vehicle registration.