Two Year Old Hit, Killed in Parking Lot in Union County

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KELLY TOWNSHIP -- State police say no criminal charges will be filed after a 2-year-old boy was hit by an SUV in the parking lot of Walmart near Lewisburg Friday night.

Anthony Cooley may have been only two years old, but family members say he touched a lot of people with his love of music and outgoing personality.

The little boy died after troopers said an SUV hit him in a parking lot near Lewisburg.

Anthony Cooley started life as a preemie, but grew into a two year old who astonished his grandfather, David Walter.

"He loved to play with the piano and always loved to pretend he was directing a choir or a band. [He was] very much in love with music," Walter said.

Friday night just before 10 p.m. Anthony and his family were leaving Walmart near Lewisburg when state police said the little boy darted into a lane of traffic in the parking lot.

"Nobody really knows exactly what happened. He just escaped for seconds," Walter said.

Troopers said the toddler was hit and run over by an SUV and later died at Evangelical Community Hospital. The driver, a woman from Milton, was also taken to the hospital to be checked out.

Officials said no charges will be filed and are calling this an accident.

Anthony's grandparents showed us his little red stool and the monkey toy he liked to toss, now painful reminders of how his life was cut short.

Family members say they sought out the driver in the hospital to let her know they don't blame her.

“They went and found the driver in the ER and my daughter and granddaughter went to sing to her, sang some hymns and had a prayer with her,” said Walter.

At the shopping center along Route 15 where the deadly collision took place, Meg Martin of Lewisburg, a mother herself, said the toddler’s death shows how suddenly tragedy can strike.

"Sometimes they dart and that is a mother’s worst nightmare," Martin said.

Anthony's family said their church community is helping them deal with the loss.

Friends have set up an account online to help pay for funeral expenses.

89 comments

    • Skooled@home

      You have to want until tomorrow morning to be a quarterback in this game. Sure your name isn’t Captain Obvious?

  • Vid

    Raising toddlers is hard. They’re fast and do things that no rational adult could ever anticipate. My condolences to the family and driver.

  • joe

    My heart bleeds tonight. I consider myself a very careful parent. At one time I had 2 toddlers and an infant. I came out of church on a sunday. Faster than I could greet the preacher my 3 year old broke loose and ran right out to the main rd. There was a car coming. By the grace of God he was able to stop. My wife cried all day. just at the thought. It happens, god bless them

  • Elaine

    How very sad and tragic. Prayers to the family and the driver as well. Bad things happen. There is a reason this little guy was called to Heaven. Family and friends are saying he was a special little boy that loved music. I cannot imagine what they must be going through.

  • Jr

    I feel for the parents ….. I have a 6 year old son who at age 2 he was bad he would jump out of my cart while I was checking out ….. he has ADHD and I would chase after him he has no fear thankfully nothing bad happened to him but my point is children are fast and drivers can not see little ones especially when they are backing up ……. but for the grace of God there go I ….. God giveth and taketh away …. his life was here and then gone ,,, his life had a purpose he touched many lives and through this accident God will get the glory …… it said that the parents did not blame the woman …. I don’t know many parents who would have reacted to that driver the way they had …. most would have screamed at them

    • Itsme

      Having God in your heart allows you to forgive others. It allows you to see that the lady driver who is sobbing in the hospital needs love and forgiveness. Why didn’t my Aunt curse out the driver? Because God makes a difference.

      But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
      —Galatians 5:22-23

      • Anonymous

        Why would anyone consider cursing out the driver anyway?? It was dark. A 2-year-old child darted into a vehicle’s path. We’re all human. Nobody is to blame. It’s a terrible tragedy!! I can’t even imagine what the poor family or driver is going through.

      • Itsme

        I certainly wasn’t trying to suggest swearing and yelling would have been an appropriate reaction. I was, however, trying to make the point that they can forgive because of God’s help.

      • Chryssy

        Why would she curse out the driver? First off, people need to hold a two year olds hand. Second why the heck is the kid out at 10pm?

    • SGG

      It was quite clearly not the driver’s fault, that’s why. And she has to live with this as well; i can imagine having to live with killing a beautiful two year old, even if there was nothing I could have done to prevent it. I don’t know any parent that would have blamed the drive in this situation- most blame themselves, even though it’s not their fault either. The guilt on all sides must be terrible, but the truth is, there is very little that anyone can do to prevent these things. Sometimes, they just happen.

  • seentomuch

    to many people go through the parking lots to fast, if they drove at a walk pace a child shouldn’t have been killed. I hope this wakes people up and slow down

    • Kelson

      While I agree that people drive too fast through parking lots, it really doesn’t matter how fast a car is going, the weight differential alone escalates the damage done. About 12 years ago, one of my best friends lost his daughter in one of the dumbest accidents I’ve ever heard of. It’s been a while, so I don’t remember the exact details. But basically, a grandfather wanted potato chips and gave his grandson the car keys to go to the store. The grandson was underage, and obviously did not have a license. It was just getting dark outside, and I believe the kid didn’t even know enough to turn the headlights on. My friend’s daughter, he was weeks away from joining the Air Force, was on the sidewalk and the kid hit her. Witnesses say the kid was barely moving, and just nudged my friend’s daughter . . knocking her over. She didn’t have a scratch on her body, but when she fell over, she hit her head. She died about a week later. My point is, speed doesn’t always matter.

  • meme

    Why are people being so mean??? This is a horrible ACCIDENTAL tragedy! It could happen any time of day to any parent. I can think of a time when I was holding my then 3 year olds hand and he pulled away so quickly that I lost my grip on his hand and he ran out in front of a car. I was lucky that the driver saw him and was able to stop. As for being at Walmart at 10:00, big deal. I’ve taken my son there that late when I’ve realized that I was out of diapers, baby tylenol, or even tampons! When you’re a parent sometimes you’ve got to do that. My heart goes out to this family. And the rest of you who are being so callous, maybe you should run out to Walmart and see if they have any valentines hearts leftover cause obviously you need one.

  • Sandy

    Well said Doug, you and I are in agreement. Some people need to get a life and stay out of other people’s lives. They should be praying for both families involved instead of shooting off their mouths…

  • Doug

    All you perfect, judgmental, can’t-possibly-do-anything-wrong idiots on this board. Pitiful. Don’t you think the mother is already going through enough, losing a child, blaming herself for this tragedy? But, she also is subjected to you sanctimonious jerks that don’t know the whole situation.
    My wife called 911 for this incident, and traveled with the family to the hospital. For your information, the mother was holding the hand of the 2 year old, AND carrying her baby at the same time, until she got to the car. At the car, she let go of the 2 year old’s hand long enough to pass the baby off to an older daughter. A split second was all it took.
    As to the “Well, I would never have my child out that late…” crowd, the father was away in West Virginia, so you have no idea why this woman was there that late at night. Maybe one of the kids was sick and she was picking up medicine. Maybe formula for the baby. Do you know? Then don’t pass judgment. Besides that, this accident could have just as easily happened at 6:00 PM. It’s dark, then, too, right? Right?
    I only wish to be as perfect as some of you know-it-all, perfect, dolts. Wait, on second thought, I absolutely do not. I don’t want to be like you, in the least.
    One final thing, the woman who hit the child went to the hospital in shock. And, the family of the hit child was outside the room of that woman, praying for her.

    • Jody

      I hit the wrong button!!! For some reason it said it’s reporting your comment?! I am in total agreeance with you! This horrific tragedy could happen to anyone!! Prayers to all involved!

    • Doug

      One person down-votes my comment? Must have been one of the perfect little princesses who could never possibly do any thing wrong. But, I see they didn’t have the guts to try to defend themselves, perfect little things that they are.

    • Relene Miller

      First and foremost Doug, if anyone is being sanctimonious, it is you. There isn’t one person on here who doesn’t realize that both of these families are going through much pain. What you call “judgmental” is more an admonition to those who are commenting that things happen and when it comes to kids, we must be careful. In fact, when it comes to their lives, we must be perfect as you put it. When the news came on tonight, the grandparents stated that they still don’t know what happened (I would conjecture that if one of the children was sick and needed meds that one of the GP’s might have been available to watch the other two)? You are assuming that we are assuming. This much we know, the parent let go of a two year old child and the child ran out in front of another vehicle and was subsequently killed. Even if you were the one who called 911 (and apparently it didn’t “shock” you terribly that you exhausted time berating others on here) your report is according to the scene incident and something this traumatizing has some conflict no doubt. After the fact, we all know things happen with toddlers soooo quickly. Because my son got hurt once (enough to get stitches) on my watch…..I subsequently “watch” with eyes in the back of my head when children are in my care. Of course the parent blames herself, any parent would. My heart goes out to both parties, especially the mother and father who lost this child. I think what you are calling judgmental is more anger at the situation and how sad it is when we “let go” even for a second. It is one thing to be angry at the parent, another to be angry about the situation….and it is not for you or anyone else to judge the posters here until you know what they truly feel. Most situations are avoidable and some are just common sense. This is sad.

    • Tim & Amy Cooley

      Thanks so much, Doug! Can you tell your wife we are indebted to her for caring for the other children while we waited for the paramedics and for being there for us till family arrived…while we got word of Anthony’s passing. She was heaven sent.

  • sharon robertson

    Where were the parents??? a 2yr old at 10 at night, he should of been in the arms of someone or a cart…

    • Doug

      The Mom was holding the hand of the 2 year old and had her baby in her arms until she handed the baby off to another of her kids, your perfection. She let go for a second, and that’s all it took.

      • Rebekah

        Oops…accidentally hit the wrong button…did not mean to report comment…I’m in agreement with you. People don’t know the whole situation. We should pray for both the family and the woman who was driving…because I cannot imagine her anguish either.

    • Itsme

      Mr. Cooley was doing tech-work in another state. For all Gail, Relene Miller, and Jennifer insulting my Uncle and Aunt, they do take care of their family’s eating needs, electric bill, etc.

  • Kim

    The driver obviously didn’t do it on purpose. Not knowing the kid was there. I would feel absolutely horrible if this was me. On either end. Rest in peace little man.

  • stephanie

    Look, kids move especially the little ones, yeah you can’t hold their hand every second buuuut around moving vehicles its common sense to hold onto them, I have a 4 year old the moment I unbuckle him I’m holding his wrist before he steps out of van, I hold his wrist, keeping an eye out for cars pulling out or in and ones driving up and down, when I read things like this I say but for the grace of god there go I, mistakes happens kids can pull away it takes one second to change forever, these parents are grieving I have lost a child (due to medical issue) and the hurt never lessens. Just remember this for those condemning these people, lord forbid you yourselves make a mistake, it takes zero effort to point your fingers at others, you can be safe and hover all you want but it wont prevent accidents.

  • Sandy

    Okay people, yes you should hold onto your children, however, God has given people, even children free will. Unless you were there, you have no idea if the parents had the child by the hand and he broke free. God allows things to happen for a reason…no one knows why and probably never will. Possibly this child was headed for a terrible disease and God spared him suffering in such a manner. No one knows. I lost a child two days old due to being born two months early…not my fault. Bottom line, I know these parents are devastated at the loss of their child…give them a break. And the person who hit this child is also suffering. Have some compassion. A child’s life is gone forever. And who cares why a 2 year old was out that late at night? He wasn’t running the streets alone…he was with someone. Those of you casting stones are not perfect…no one is. I hope and pray you never lose a child. You have no idea their pain. They don’t need criticized…they need sympathy.

  • Country Girl 92

    I don’t believe that we should be pointing fingers and making negative comments. We weren’t even there to see or know exactly what happened. This family needs prayer not criticism. Things can happen in a split second and we could be in their shoes one day. May God be with them and comfort them.

  • Darlene Shaffer

    It’s terrible how negative people are and want to place blame. They don’t know the parents or the situation. I DO know the parents and know that they are some of the best. I can’t imagine the pain they must feel. Things happen in an instant, no matter how hard we try to prevent them. May God wrap his arms around them, give them comfort, during this tragic time!

  • Friend

    What is wrong with most of you?!?! I know this family, and they are very good parents, and they are amazing people! It takes a split second for a child that age to take off. It sadly happens to a lot of people. 2 year olds are adventurous and a second is all it takes. No they should not be charged! Have some respect. Rip little one ♡

    • A friend or Itsme (whichever you prefer...)

      Truly, if everyone knew the family, they might realize how totally unreasonable the accusations and assumptions are.

  • Sacha

    Omg 😥 I was just there yesterday 😥 thankfully I make the kids stay IN the cart until I get them out and put them in the vehicle.(my 3year old has ran away from my in parking lots before) Omg I don’t know what I would do if I was either the parent or the person driving the SUV. this is so sad 😥 RIP little angel 😥 😥

  • Anonymous

    I can’t believe the negativity!! How awful for this family. Things happen in a split second even if you’re the most careful & vigilant parent! This is such a tragedy for all involved….the family, the driver, and all who witnessed and emergency responders and police. I almost had a situation like this in a parking lot. and I was holding both my childrens’ hands. And quit judging as to why a child was out at that hour….mind your own business!

  • Dean

    My heart breaks for that family. I have a two year old which I would die protecting. I also believe I am a great dad. However, children have free will, energy and mobility. Please don’t blame a parent, a child is dead and so is part of their soul, life, future.

    • Marian Zelinsky

      My prayers are with the family at this terrible time, and with the SUV driver. It’s a horrible tragedy. To tell you the truth, I was going to say something negativee, but after reading some of the other posts, I realized that kids get away no matter how tightly you may hold their hand. Should he have been out that late? There have been times when I would need to go out late for diapers because I had to wait for my check. My son has pulled away from me at that age (he’s 21 now), and no matter how tightly you hold them, they twist, turn, and run off. If you were not there, or know the parents, do not judge! They are going thru the most difficult time and need sympathy and support right now. May God comfort this family and the driver at this very sorrowful time.

  • itsme

    The truth of the matter is unless you literally hold on to your child every minute, your children could hurt themself if they ever got the notion to do something unsafe.

      • Skooled@home

        Oh to live in Relene Miller-world, where everyone is perfect and nobody makes mistakes. All hail Relene, Queen of Perfection.

    • itsme

      Do think that parents can make mistakes? Do you realize that you can’t hold on to your child all the time. Hmmm….

      Being a parent is not classified as choking your child to death while attempting to keep them safe.
      Does anyone actually hold on to their kid’s arm the whole way out of the car. Ever turned around and realized your child could have ran off. (Fortunately for you, luck determined your ego couldn’t handle dozens of people talking bad about you on news sites. Your lucky.)

      All I’m trying to say is

      Good parents can make mistakes.
      No one is perfect.
      When turning around to take care of your child, he could run 6 feet from your van door and get hit by a car. Sorry…
      People need compassion.
      Bad stuff happens.

      Got me…
      ~Jeffrey

    • tiredoftheBS

      Again, you’re being dim. We’re talking about a 2 year old, not a an older child. And speaking of kids EVEN a bit older, I was driving in my town up a hill once and it’s a good thing I wasn’t flying up the hill or on the cell phone like 75% of the people are around there. And there sat in the middle of the street on his bike a 4 year old at the crest of the hill. No one around. Awesome. His “older” brothers who were suppose to be watching them. They were down the street further from home near the woods on their bikes and left them there. The eldest brother of the 3 was 11 or 12, and middle child perhaps 6. I made them take me back to their house. Their mother was home, yet oblivious as to where they were and didn’t even know the name of the street they were found on just up the street from her. Awesome. She got angry with me when I told her I nearly ran down her son even tho he was in the middle of the road until she realized they weren’t in front of the house as she expected even tho they were allowed to ride up and down the hill in the middle of the street, on a street with at least 3 blind spots as well as a 10 foot drop on the way down the hill on one side of the street. Awesome. People need to watch their kids.

      • BZ22

        So from now on every situation is judged on that one incident? Most parents will admit, that no matter how careful or cautious they were, they’ve had a child escape their grasp or dart out of sight. We know that we were fortunate to avert a possible tragedy and are possibly more sympathetic in cases such as these because of that!

  • tiredoftheBS

    Negative comments notwithstanding I tend to lean towards them knowing all too well it only takes a second. I have a very active child who’s grown now and look back and wonder how he made it this far. I could blink and lose site of him. They can be very quick which is why in a parking lot/near any moving cars you don’t let go of them. Ever. Get them in the car first and until you do you hold onto them like a clamp. I am very sorry for these parents’ loss, and feel very bad for the driver. What a horrifying experience all around.

  • itsme

    I love how people self-righteously act like they never/can’t make mistakes. I understand that this type of situation works parents up, because we want to believe earth can be a perfect world and we feel like someone needs blamed. However, once sin came into the world, the world was no longer perfect. Hence, people cannot be perfect. Parents cannot be perfect. I cannot be perfect. You cannot be perfect.

    And yes, my dear, everyone wished it hadn’t happened…

  • gail

    i am a parent. yes kids can move quick., that is why parents are suppose to protect them from a dangerous situation. i feel bad for all involved, but, doesn’t change the fact that parents need to be more responsable.

    • Relene Miller

      I concur Gail. I hung onto my child at two years old in parking lots, along with other situations where he could have broken away. Bottom line, the parent/guardian cannot let go for a second, period. This isn’t about negative comments, this is about reality.

      • Relene Miller

        ITSME, No, you can’t hang onto them for the rest of their lives, but for the sake of their lives at two years old, you better hang onto them! Are you suggesting that we don’t hold onto them now, because we shouldn’t hang onto them forever? Circular reasoning…

      • tiredoftheBS

        @Relene&Gail exactl what I just said. I cannot tell you how many times I have seen kids unattended in parking lots while their parents were either chit-chatting or putting groceries away first whatever the reason..I have seen kids walking either in front of their parents or even worse behind them. Makes no sense..
        @itsme, you are so dim. “Are parents just supposed to hold on to their kids for the rest of their collective lives?” No, only until they can look out for themselves. So at what age do you think that might be?

    • Sacha

      Problem is when you have 2+ kids, holding the hand of a two year old and carrying a baby, you get to the locked vehicle…. how do you open the door or get your keys out? Wnep didn’t state everything that happened just that it did happen. keep your negative comments to yourself! You have NO IDEA!

    • Doug

      And, another sanctimonious, holier-than-thou idiot. You mean to tell me that NEVER when raising your children, did anything ever happen that could have ended like this? Never? I’ve raised three boys, and can tell you that it can happen anytime, anywhere in the blink of an eye. If you say “Never,” not only are you sanctimonious, but you’re a liar.

      • Kelson

        Doug, while I agree with what you’ve been saying in numerous posts here . . . you really need to stop calling people “idiots” in every single post that is in disagreement with your beliefs. This was a horrible tragedy, and name-calling isn’t helping anyone. Let’s keep our hearts and minds with BOTH families, because I believe they are both victims in this horrible accident.

  • Clarissa

    I can’t believe the negative comments. They should charge the parents! Really?!?! Clearly the people posting these comments either dont have kids, or, by the grace of god, have never had a dangerous situation happen in a split second with their child.
    As for the reason why the child was out that late….who cares! Maybe the family realized they needed milk for the next morning, or breakfast, or maybe they have a friend or family member that’s ill in the hospital and had just come from visiting them. You dont know, nor does it matter.
    This poor family has suffered an unimaginable loss and the driver is probably tormented by the situation. Pray for them! Don’t tear them down and try to place blame.

    • Relene Miller

      Clarissa, At this juncture, placing blame isn’t sensitive or even legally thoughtful. But, incidents like these occur worldwide. Parents know this is a risk and as another poster said, it is up to us as parents to be protectors of our babes at a high risk….parking lots…..and a host of other possible risky scenarios.

      • Doug

        You have the absolute gall to say, “at this juncture, placing blame isn’t sensitive…” Now, you’re a hypocrite, too. After some of the inane, thoughtless drivel that you have posted about never letting go of your child’s hand, you try to make good by saying placing blame isn’t sensitive? Unbelievable.

  • jennifer

    For ur information I am a parent and would never have my kids out that late or in the cold weather..i couldn’t imagine being the driver

    • Anonymous

      Jennifer and Relene you two are so sad… You don’t think the parents already wish they would have done things differenty that? I am a parent of two and I have had my children out past ten due to illness and other situations. You are awful for condemning these parents in such a heartbreaking time in their lives. Imagine if the roles were reversed and it was your child? You are so quick to judge instead of offering support and understanding. We are humans and mistakes are made. These parents are trying to take the high road and even sang to the lady thy accidentally killed there son. I can only hope that this never happens to you since you two are so perfect in your every day lives.

  • A friend

    Actually, I know the family; they are relatives. To all you who don’t know what you are talking about (which is about everybody), my Aunt and Uncle are very good parents and do a better job than most people.

    The public wants to blame someone, but it won’t make a difference. Blaming other people makes you feel like you know what you are talking about, but it does not change anything.

    You can’t hold your child’s hand every moment of the day; it is just stupid to think so.

    I hate to think what kind of parents some of you would make. Jennifer says, ” I totally agree. What is a child out for that late at night and in the cold weather? These days, some parents don’t use their heads; that child should have been in the cart or held on to.” [added punctuation, capitalization and clarified its meaning] It seems funny that she thinks she knows what went wrong, when she doesn’t know the parents, situation, driver, or anything about it.

    We have a joke in our family about the landromat lady who always got after my mom about us kids, even though she never had kids; she didn’t know what she was talking about.

    … … Don’t be a “laundry lady,” people. Show some compassion.

    • Relene Miller

      I can’t imagine losing a child, it must be the most painful experience one can endure. It’s not that people are being unsympathetic, rather raising awareness to other parents to pay attention, things happen….No one wins here, both the driver lives with what happened as do the parents live without their child and will no doubt blame themselves forever. Parents need to stay focused and perhaps in this situation, others will learn from this tragedy.

  • BZ22

    There are legitimate reasons why a child might be out at that time of night and accidents happen. Two year olds are quick, it only takes a second and things happen. For now, let’s give everyone involved our thoughts and sympathy.

  • jennifer

    I totally agree what is a child out for that late at night and out in the cold weather….some parents now these days dont use their heads…that child should have been in the cart or held on to…t

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