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3 children hit by texting driver


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MIDVALE — Three children were hit by a vehicle Tuesday afternoon in Midvale.

Around 3:35 p.m., the three girls, ages 9, 10 and 14, were hit at about 700 W. Wasatch Street in Midvale by a 28-year-old male driver who was texting, according to Unified Police Lt. Justin Hoyal. The man said he never saw the girls, Hoyal said.

"Unfortunately, the situation here is we have three children who are seriously hurt as a result of somebody being distracted, possibly while texting," he said.

The youngest of the girls, Sophia, suffered a head injury and remained in the hospital Tuesday evening. Doctors said her condition was improving from critical, and she could be released Wednesday.

Jennifer O'Dell, 14, and 10-year-old Stacy Smith were taken to an area hospital by ambulance. They were treated and released Tuesday evening.

Witnesses said the girls were crossing the street on the way to a swimming pool when they were hit.

Jennifer O'Dell, 14 (Family photo)
Jennifer O'Dell, 14 (Family photo)

"We were gonna go over to my house and play in the sprinklers and wash our car," Stacy said. "And that really ruined our plans."

Stacy said she did not remember much from accident, but that she "kind of jumped on the car" before she blacked out momentarily. She said she was scared for her friends.

Her mother said she is angry, and the driver is lucky he did not kill the girls.

"I'm not sure what's going to happen to the gentleman that did this to all of our children, but it's a serious crime and something more than piddily charges need to come about," Cheryl Segler, Stacy's mother, said. "We're totally relieved that nothing worse happened to the children."

Jennifer's aunt said she can't believe someone would text and drive in an area with so many kids around.

"Makes me upset because I see lots of kids all the time crossing the street back and forth from school," Jaime Ammons, the girl's aunt, said.

The driver said he never saw the girls, Hoyal said. He was in police custody Tuesday night.

Contributing: McKenzie Romero and Stephanie Grimes


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Alex Cabrero

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