CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - The death of a toddler hit and killed by an impaired driver who was under a court order not to get behind the wheel or use drugs will not be in vain, authorities said Wednesday.
“It was a damn shame” Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said.
“I cannot imagine losing your 2-year-old child in a situation like this. It is the most horrible thing that I can imagine.”
A Hamilton County grand jury indicted the driver, Satwinder Singh, 31, on two counts of aggravated vehicular homicide and one count of failure to stop after an accident on public road or highway, Deters announced in a joint news conference with Cincinnati Police Chief Eliot Isaac.
Singh faces up to 14 years in prison, but authorities plan to contact police in Newport to try to increase the penalties.
“Believe me if we could have gotten more out of it, we would have,” Deters said.
Singh was under order by a Campbell County court not to drive or use drugs when he passed out behind the wheel of a red, 2017 Dodge Ram pickup truck Dec. 30, Deters said.
The truck ran off the right side of Hopple Street, hit the curb, went up onto the sidewalk and struck Dameon Turner Jr. and his father, Dameon Turner Sr.
Singh stopped said he would follow the family to the hospital, Deters said.
But then he fled and was found passed out in the truck down the street in a gas station parking lot.
Police said he was high on drugs and had to be revived with Narcan.
Singh had just been arrested the week before in Newport, charged with OVI and cocaine possession on Dec. 22, court records show.
Dameon Turner Jr., died at Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center.
“This is a most tragic situation. It truly feeds into the fact that we have a serious problem with opiates and this little boy tragically died because of this,” Deters said. “The recklessness of this defendant is beyond belief.”
Deters said he asked Cincinnati’s chief to appear with him at the news conference to underscore the excellent work on the case by CPD investigators.
“The chief should be very proud of what they’ve done,” Deters said.
When Singh smade his first court appearance in the boy’s death earlier this month, his lawyer said it was an accident.
This was no accident - this was a homicide, responded Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Brad Greenberg.
He set Singh’s bond at a hefty $1 million.
“This is a tragedy that should not have occurred,” the police chief said Wednesday.
“This tragic accident is a reminder that it’s everyone’s responsibility not to drive impaired and how a life can be taken in an instant by a choice to get behind the wheel of a vehicle without regard for the people who might come in their path.
"We all need to deep look at this tragedy and see how we can honor young Dameon’s life.”