ATHENS - DPS troopers are investigating after a one-year-old boy was struck by a car and killed on a Henderson County highway.
First responders were called to U.S. 175, less than a mile northwest of Athens, shortly after 9 p.m. Sunday.
According to a DPS preliminary crash report, 1-year-old Santiago Sanchez wandered outside his family's home on U.S. 175 and into the roadway.
Troopers said the driver of a Honda Civic was unable to avoid Sanchez and struck him. The 30-year-old driver from Garland remained on-scene.
North 19 Volunteer Fire Department, Southside Volunteer Fire Department and Athens Fire Department responded to the accident.
Sanchez's parents told North 19 Fire Chief Bob Morris the accident happened as Santiago ran after his dad, who was going to the store.
"This is heartbreaking," Morris said by phone on Monday. "Because I think in many ways to have a little boy chasing after his dad, that's the hardest thing for me is to realize the little boy just loved for his dad and was chasing his dad."
While DPS is handling the investigation, Chief Morris said he believes this is a terrible accident.
"It was disturbing to me this morning seeing some of the social media," said Morris. "People were suggesting things that were not correct, were not true, wasn't fair to the family. I believe people didn't fully understand what they were... the boy wasn't in the middle of the street; he wasn't playing in the street; he wasn't just turned loose; he was just chasing after his daddy."
Morris said Sanchez would have turned 2 years old in September.
The Henderson County Sheriff's Office and Athens Police Department assisted DPS Sunday night with traffic control as U.S. 175 was shut down.
The investigation is on-going, and CBS19 will update this story as more details are released.
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