‘The hardest part was I watched it happen’: Witness recalls NC crash that killed 2-year-old boy

Jonathan Alexander Hayes is accused of rear-ending a vehicle in Wilmington Wednesday.  (WECT)
Jonathan Alexander Hayes is accused of rear-ending a vehicle in Wilmington Wednesday. (WECT)

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) — A witness vividly remembers the scene of a fatal crash that took the life of a 2-year-old boy Tuesday morning, saying it was scary and emotional to see what happened.

Sami Todd was in a van at the intersection Oleander Drive and Independence Boulevard where the accident happened.

RELATED: 2-year-old boy killed in NC multi-vehicle crash

She said she saw the moment a pickup truck rear-ended a car with four people, including the child, inside.

“The hardest part was I watched it happen,” Todd said. “I watched the mom get out of her car and just start trying to get people to help her. She was desperate. She was pregnant…she was probably injured too.”

Todd said Jonathan Hayes, now charged with DWI and felony death by motor vehicle, “plowed into the car” and then continued driving.

Todd was not the only one to stop and try to help. She said first responders were there almost immediately and did everything they could to save the child.

“People were doing chest compressions on the little boy,” Todd said. “But when the EMT arrived… I mean they did what they could too but I kind of had a feeling that something bad was going to happen because of how unresponsive the child was.”

Hayes was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police say responders gave him narcan, a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. According to the Wilmington Fire Department, this accident was the fourth time they had to use narcan on Hayes.

“Aside from crying, I was so angry,” Todd said. “I also found out that the guy that was driving had been on drugs. Just…it was 10:45 in the morning. I mean… I was just so mad.”

Todd became emotional talking about the scene and seeing the little boy taken from the crash.

“Having been there on the scene, I mean I watched this little boy and probably saw some of his last breaths,” Todd said. “It just hurts to see somebody…I mean they just celebrated Halloween yesterday. She’s carrying another child. He had an older brother, I’m not sure how old he was. They’re going to have to live without their precious sibling and child and just it really affected me.”

Now she hopes the other victims of the crash will recover and has one message for the mother of the child.

“I’m so sorry,” Todd said. “You might feel alone but there are so many people that are wanting to help. I know it sounds weird but although I know that I can’t really speak for the other people that were in the van that I was in, but part of me wishes that it would have hit us [instead].”

Todd said she now hopes the community will come together to support the family.

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