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Child dies in crash involving 18-wheeler on Highway 90, deputies say

HOUSTON – At the East Sam Houston Parkway, where it meets Highway 90 in northeast Harris County, a little boy’s slipper was among the wreckage.

“We offer our condolences on the loss of the four-year-old. It’s just devastating to see the child’s body out here,” said Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez.

He updated reporters mere feet from an 18 wheeler -- it’s front end indented by the rear end of a car it split in two.

The boy was seated in the back seat, Gonzalez said.

Witnesses told investigators the boy’s mother who was driving, according to officials, ran a red light while driving eastbound on Hwy 90, striking the truck which was headed eastbound on the feeder to the Beltway.

The boy was thrown from the car, Gonzalez said. How that happened remained investigators’ focus throughout the afternoon Thursday.

“There is a child safety seat in the back, but just a cursory look right now, it doesn’t appear that the child was in the seat itself,” Gonzalez said.

Officials have to determine that, for sure, but investigators said it doesn’t seem the seat was broken, according to what they described seeing on scene.

“It obviously didn’t fail in this case. All the buckles are still intact. So, that leads us to believe that he likely wasn’t restrained,” said Sean Teare, vehicular crimes chief in the Harris County District Attorney’s Office.

Investigators said a woman who was seated in the front passenger’s seat was the boy’s sister.

Where they were headed is unclear — and while where isn’t a big detail — officials say they were out during a call to stay in.

“When you turn around and look at the traffic that we have right here, it’s evident that not every one of these people is out here for necessity,” Teare said.

Officials said that’s concerning because with traffic comes crashes.

“The fact that accidents and fatal crashes are still occurring at a pretty good clip tells us there’s still bad driving behavior if not more because that means folks may be more at ease thinking ‘there’s not much traffic I can speed there,’” Gonzalez said.

In this case, speed doesn’t appear a factor, Gonzalez said.

Investigators did not rule out whether charges would be filed, but more investigating needs to be done to determine that.

Investigators hoped to speak to the boy’s mom and sister Thursday afternoon. Both were hospitalized and described as being in non-critical condition, Gonzalez told reporters.

“It’s just devastating to see,” he lamented.