LEBANON, Ill. (KMOX) – Mindy Hoyt is hospitalized with serious burns — and her four-year old son dead — because authorities believe she was texting while driving.
The 29-year old Swansea mother was driving her Toyota Corolla on a stretch of Scott Troy Road Wednesday morning, when authorities say she crossed the center line and slammed head on into a GMC pickup truck. None of the three men in the pickup truck were seriously hurt.
“According to witnesses she was on the phone either talking on it or texting,” said St. Clair County Sheriff’s Captain Steve Johnson, “Analyzing the phone, it was within close time frame of the crash that a text was sent by her to someone else.”
The fiery impact left Hoyt trapped behind the wheel, with her son fatally injured in the back seat.
Authorities say the child might have survived the crash, if he had been secured in a full-sized child safety seat.
“According to medical staff, the child died because the child was in a booster seat,” Johnson said. “If the child would have been in a child restraint device with a six-point harness, medical staff believe that this child probably would have survived this crash.”
Johnson says the booster seat with a seat belt is legal in Illinois for a four-year old child, but not prudent.
The child is identified as Diego L. Rangel of Swansea.