Police: Father not texting in wreck that killed 13-month-old daughter
ANSON COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - Wadesboro Police said they made a mistake after citing a father with two traffic violations in connection with a vehicle accident that killed his 13-month-old daughter on Christmas Day.
Alexander Hooper was cited Monday with texting while driving and driving left of center, according to officials.
After the accident report was filed on Monday, Wadesboro Police told WBTV that there were "mistakes" in the report.
Family members told WBTV that Hooper's phone received a text message on his phone at 3:57 p.m., around the time of the accident.
Wadesboro Police said they found Alex Hooper's phone after the crash. At the time they believed he sent a text right before the crash happened saying, "Merry Christmas." After the accident report went public, family came forward saying that wasn't true. And officers went back and looked at the phone.
"The investigative officer that's involved in the investigation came up this morning and he worked diligently on trying to correct the mistakes we had made on the accident report to get it ready," explained Wadesboro Chief T.L. Spencer, "Also for us to contact the news to let them know what happened and also contact the family."
The accident report showing the violations from Christmas day states that Alex Hooper the driver crossed the center line and hit an oncoming car. That part has not changed.
But Wadesboro Police updated the report saying after being advised that the text message reading Merry Christmas may have been received versus sent the charge of texting while driving against Hooper will not be charged. The chief said he spoke with Alex Hooper's father and explained what happened.
It's against the law to read or send a text message. The chief said he has no proof the message was open. And he said the entire department is sorry for the pain this mistake might have caused the family who is already dealing with the death of a 13-month old Lexi Hooper.
"This is a sad time. Very apologetic for me to be standing here today to apologize to the family," said Spencer, "We're sincere about it."
The chief said he will sit down with the District Attorney Wednesday to see if any criminal charges will be brought in addition to this one citation for crossing the center line.
The Hooper family has been planning Lexi's funeral. Her parents worked at Walmart's Distribution Center but did not work there long enough to have health insurance. They are overwhelmed with the funeral costs and the medical costs since this accident.
If you would like to donate to the Hooper family an account has been set up through Bank of America called the Alexis Machon Hooper Memorial fund.
The Davis family, the other family that was injured in the crash said they did want to comment about this story. But they have also set up a fund at PNC Bank in Wadesboro for their health costs.
Wadesboro Police told WBTV that Alexander, his wife Kelsey, their 13-month-old daughter Alexis, and Alexander's brother, Caleb Hooper, were in a Volkswagen heading back home to Gaston County after a holiday get-together in Hamlet on Christmas Day.
Police said the family's Volkswagen crossed the center line and hit an oncoming Dodge Intrepid.
The Hoopers were all injured in the crash. Alexis later died at the hospital.
Officers say both vehicles were on fire when they arrived, but the fire was restricted to the engine compartments of both vehicles.
Officers say a passenger in the Dodge, Saundra Davis, had to be rescued from the vehicle and airlifted to Carolinas Medical Center-Main in Charlotte. Davis is still in the hospital, listed in good condition.
Her husband, Clay Davis, was transported to Anson Community Hospital where he was later released.
Caleb Hooper was treated and released shortly after the wreck. Alexander and Kelsey were both released from the hospital on January 2.
Police said Alexis was properly fastened in an approved child passenger safety seat, which was properly installed in the vehicle.
Officers say both vehicles were doing the appropriate speed and they do not have any reason to believe that fatigue was involved.
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