Dent family wants further charges for ATV driver who hit child, fled
Dent family is looking for answers after their son was allegedly run over by a person on a four wheeler who drove off without stopping.
Six-year-old Jaxn Heintzelman sustained minor injuries, but his family says it could have been a lot worse and that they want the person responsible to have greater charges.
“What if she would have hit him in a different angle. I mean, we got lucky, really really lucky,” Jaxn’s mother Ashley Heintzelman said. “I just think what if he would have died. This could have been so much worse.”
Jaxn and friends were playing outside the Pelican Rapids Supper Club on Sunday night as parents looked on from inside the restaurant. They were called in for supper, but Jaxn didn’t make it past the parking lot.
“One of the coaches said, ‘One of the kids got hit,’ and they ran out,” Heintzelman said.
“He said, ‘A four wheeler hit me, and it did this, and it ran me over right here,’“ family friend Torri Beiningen said.
“It hurt,” Jaxn said.
He had a few bruises, scrapes on his head and back, a concussion and a collar bone injury, leaving him in pain and shaken.
“He woke up and said, ‘why didn’t that four wheeler stop?’ Every time I think about that, it makes me want to cry,” Heintzelman said.
The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Department questioned suspects that night, who denied involvement until the next day. After word spread on social media and surveillance video came out, those suspected admitted to officers that they hit Jaxn and then drove away. Charges have yet to be filed, but sheriff Brian Schlueter said they could include leaving the scene of an accident and careless driving. But the family wants more.
“Learning from this by just getting a slap on the wrists? What are you going to learn if you can just get your way out of it? And what message is that going to send to everybody else? Like, ‘It’s okay to be reckless around here,’” Torri Beiningen said.
Because while Jaxn is able to run and play, the situation could have been much worse.
“I was shocked. I don’t know how you can hit a child, not know if he’s dead or alive and just keep going,” Heintzelman said.
The Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office has not formally charged the people involved, but they say a 23-year-old woman was driving and a 22-year-old man was riding on the ATV.
Official charges and names are expected to be released soon.