Prosecutor promises thorough investigation into crash that killed 3-year-old

Dawson Elder, 4, was killed when a car hit his mother's car stopped in the emergency lane (WKRC)

TAYLOR MILL, Ky. (WKRC) - Taylor Mill Police say Dawson Elder, three, is the little boy killed in an accident on I-275 Wednesday evening.

Elder was thrown from his mother's car after it was hit from behind. She had pulled to the side of the road when the car broke down.

The crash happened right on the Campbell County-Kenton County border. Multiple agencies are cooperating on the investigation and any charges, if necessary, will be filed in Campbell County.

Prosecutor Michelle Snodgrass promises a thorough investigation.

Veteran first responders say Wednesday evening's crash was one of the worst they've encountered. Megan Ritter of Independence broke down on eastbound I-275 and pulled to the shoulder. She was hit from behind by Erin Weil of Campbell County.

"It's under investigation, but reports say that this driver was distracted, looked up and saw traffic and swerved to miss the traffic and went into the emergency lane and caused a tragedy," said Chief John Stager of Taylor Mill Fire & EMS.

Snodgrass says the investigation into all the facts is just beginning, but it will be thorough because the families involved deserve it.

"I think it's still too early to tell. And these cases are so hard to find a way to tell the difference between an accident and a criminal case. Sometimes it's a very fine line," Snodgrass said.

Snodgrass says she is working with Kenton County and Campbell County reconstructionists, Taylor Mill police and Wilder police to get to the bottom of what exactly happened. She encourages everyone to take a hard look at what happened and take heed:

"We've had too many of these types of crashes lately. Really, within the last year it seems like there has been too many. This stretch of roadway is dangerous. I think the important thing that we need to let people know is you cannot let your guard down when you are driving," she said.

Snodgrass says she was shaken by what she saw at the scene. For first responders, fatalities, especially children, take their toll. The Northern Kentucky Peer Support Group was activated to help them deal with the stress.

"We have an opportunity to get together today over at Wilder and talk again. So I put that out there today just to make sure we can talk and get it out there," Stager said.

Police are asking any witnesses to come forward. They are likely to check cell phone records of the drivers to see if that may have been a factor.

Police suggest calling 911 and staying in your car with the seat belt on if you break down.

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