"I can't begin to know how she feels, but as a mother of two young boys, this hits so close to home," said neighbor and friend Lissa Koffler. "It could have been one of my kids."
Tuesday night, Carolina Beach Officer Colby Edens hit and killed a child with his patrol vehicle at a home on Kiwi Lane in Wilmington.
"No parent should ever ever have to bury a child ever," Koffler said as tears streamed down her face.
According to a state trooper at the scene, 19-month-old Lucas Marcinko was the son of Katie Marcinko, the woman Edens was dating.
Edens was on his way to work after having dinner with the child's mother at the time of the incident. A Highway Patrol officer said Tuesday night that Edens was pulling forward into a cul-de-sac when Lucas darted out in front of the vehicle.
While family members said the child was not related to Edens, the officer referred to the toddler as 'my son' in a frantic 911 call.
Sandra Day and her wife Tara Day live near where the accident took place. Tara ran to the home just after it occurred to try to perform CPR on the toddler.
"She ran down there when she got down on the ground, I knew something was bad. I am very proud of her not many people would try to do what she did, " said day.
The trooper said the child was taking the officer's hat to him when the officer hit him.
Sgt. Harris, the lead investigator with the Highway Patrol, said Tuesday night that Edens was understandably upset as well as the dozens of officers who responded to the scene.
"He's distraught," Harris said. "Everyone who is in law enforcement does it because they have a good heart and when something likes this happens with a child, it just breaks us all down right to our core and it's a difficult night for all of us."
Koffler wants the community to know this was a loving family and she is saddened to read hurtful comments on Facebook of people passing judgment.
"They are not bad people. He is not a bad man. She is not a bad mother and everyone who is making horrible comments about this on Facebook, they just don't know. I wish people would back off and start supporting and rallying behind this family," Koffler said.
Harris said a full investigation would be conducted, but he does not anticipate any charges will be filed against Edens. The Highway Patrol said Edens was not impaired or engaged with his cell phone at the time of the accident.
Edens has been part of the Carolina Beach Police Department since March 2014 and was one of a dozen officers honored for being at the scene of the deadly Carolina Beach Fires in December 2014.
The Carolina Beach Police Department released the following statement:
In regards to yesterday’s tragic incident involving a Carolina Beach Police Officer at 926 Kiwi Ln. in Wilmington. The Carolina Beach Police Department wishes to express its deepest condolences to the family and friends of the parties involved.
Words cannot express the difficulty and struggle that all parties will and are facing throughout this incident. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the child and Officer Edens as they try to cope through this difficult time.
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