'I've always loved you:' Mother comforts son hit by truck in 911 call
Posted December 27, 2016
Updated December 28, 2016
Hillsborough, N.C. — 911 calls released Tuesday revealed the emotional moments after a 5-year-old boy was struck and killed by an unrestrained dump truck.
A neighbor said Everett Copeland and three other children were playing with new Christmas toys in her yard on Dogwood Bloom Lane when the truck came crashing through.
The neighbor said she was in her living room at the time of the crash and looked up and saw a flash. She said one of the other children playing in the yard had to jump out of the path of the oncoming truck.
“There is a car that came through in our yard, and it hit a little boy,” an emotional 911 caller said.
The woman, who can be heard swearing as she asked who was driving the truck, said the boy was unconscious but had a pulse and a neighbor, who is a doctor, was performing CPR.
In a second call, Copeland’s mother tells a 911 dispatcher that her child has been run over by a truck and she fears he is dead.
“Mommy’s right here,” she can be heard saying to her son. “I’ve always loved you, Everett. I’m right here buddy, momma loves you. It’s OK buddy, you are always perfect.”
Neighbors said Copeland had a twin sister and a younger sister, and they are not sure his family will ever want to move back into their home.
Alejandro Suarez, the worker responsible for controlling the truck, was charged Monday with misdemeanor death by motor vehicle.
Suarez and other construction workers were clearing land to build a new home when he set the brake on the truck, got out and saw it roll away, he said.
Crescent Communities, the developer that originally bought the property and is marketing the lots where homes are being built, said they are still working to determine which contractor hired the dump truck service.
“Crescent Communities is saddened by the accident and the child’s death [Monday] at the Forest Ridge community in Hillsborough. The accident involved construction equipment operated by a contractor hired by one of the community’s homebuilders,” said Crescent Communities spokesman Tony Wilbert in a statement.
“Because Hillsborough police have charged another company’s employee in the death, Crescent cannot comment on the actual events or criminal case. We are closely monitoring the situation and cooperating with authorities. Crescent cannot express strongly enough our sympathies for the child’s family and friends.”
Multiple neighbors said they have complained to the home owners association about the construction workers, citing speeding vehicles and general safety concerns as issues. On Oct. 6, workers in the subdivision accidentally caused a dump truck to overturn, one neighbor said.
Neighbors said a growing memorial for Copeland has begun at the crash site and his death has brought them all closer together, but not for a reason they would have wanted.
"It's just devastating the day after Christmas. It's supposed to be one of the happy holidays for people, but that poor family has to now remember Christmas as, you know, a sad time instead of a happy time," said neighbor Stuart Henry.
Henry was one of a couple dozen neighbors who gathered at a Monday night vigil to remember Copeland.
"This has brought the entire neighborhood together even more, but it's unfortunate that something like this has to happen to realize who your neighbors are," he said.
Strangers Denise and Lloyd Wright came by Copeland's memorial to bring flowers. They said his death is a loss that pains the entire Hillsborough community.
"We do have two little grandkids; that's really what made me come out because it could've been my babies. He's just one of God's little angels," Denise Wright said.