Police: Child killed in hit-and-run in Putnam County

By Crystal Moyer, Morning assignment desk, backup traffic reporter, cmoyer@wjxt.com
Nicholas Jones, Associate producer, njones@wjxt.com
Published On: Apr 22 2014 10:03:04 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 23 2014 08:26:50 PM EDT

State troopers are searching for a driver in a tragic hit-and-run that killed a Putnam County 3-year-old boy. Investigators later found the car they say was involved and towed it away this morning.

PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. -

A 3-year-old boy died in a hit-and-run crash Tuesday night in Putnam County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Sgt. Dylan Bryan said Morgan Wallace Calaway, of San Mateo, was at a nearby church with a couple, not family, who was watching him while his parents were away.

FHP said somehow Calaway was able to get away from the couple and ended up in the roadway, where he was struck by a car on U.S. Highway 17 and Reed Bell Street in the San Mateo area around 8:30 p.m.

"We have investigators with the family now. There's also a victim advocate with the family from the sheriff's office," said Sgt. Jason Berger.

State troopers said the family was cooperating and was interviewed to find out what happened.

Investigators said Wednesday they found the white Honda Accord they were searching for at a home about 10 miles south of the crash site. It was towed late Wednesday morning.

Troopers said they have several persons of interest who were being interviewed by investigators to determine who was driving the car.

"The little child had no chance," said Joe Wigley, who said the police activity after the boy was hit. "He could have grown up to be our president."

"It's a real tragedy for the neighborhood and the community," said Pastor Stephen Prince, who ministers to the church next door.

Although he's never met anyone there, he said this tragic news hits way too close to home.

"They're only one-eighth of a mile away," Prince said. "It doesn't take long for a child to wander away as we all know."

Prince said his church is offering to help in any way possible.

The Department of Children and Families is also investigating, trying to learn more about the boy's home life. They also want to remind families that they need to watch their children carefully and need to install childproof door locks.

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