BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (WOOD) — A Battle Creek boy who died Tuesday night after being hit by a Calhoun County deputy’s cruiser was remembered Wednesday as lively and rambunctious.
Friends and official sources have confirmed the boy killed is 11-year-old Norm Hood.
His mother confirmed his death in a public post on Facebook Wednesday.
“I have no words and I don’t have any answers….. I just wanted to let everyone know.. I’m just so lost and have nooo words,” she wrote in part.
Family members asked that donations to help cover funeral services be made to Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care.
On Wednesday, friends gathered at a makeshift memorial near where Norm died. A vigil is planned for 7 p.m. Saturday at Leila Aboritum on W. Michigan Avenue in Battle Creek.
Authorities say he was riding a pocket bike around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday on Michigan Avenue near Lenon Street when he was hit by the deputy’s cruiser. The deputy was responding to a report of a burglary in progress in Springfield at the time, but did not have the cruisers lights and sirens activated at the time, Sheriff Matt Saxton says.
>>App users: Watch the sheriff’s news conference here.
“And all I heard was a big old loud bang. I come up from the door, don’t even lock my door, don’t even grab my cellphone, I come up here, see somebody, oops, laying on the ground. Doing several CPR in the moped on the police car,” said neighbor Ashley Baker.
The boy was rushed to Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo where he died. The deputy was not hurt, but was taken to Bronson Battle Creek Hospital to be evaluated.
“We sit here today grieving for the parents of that 11 year old child that lost his life yesterday. My prayers and my heart goes out to that family,” said Saxton.
The sheriff says it appears the motor bike turned in front of the patrol car. Saxton said the boy wasn’t wearing a helmet and the pocket bike did not have lights and was not made to be operated on a street.
Battle Creek Public Schools has confirmed the boy was a fifth-grader at Verona Elementary School. Superintendent Kimberly Carter issued the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
“We are deeply saddened by this loss to our school community and will make every effort to help our students and staff through this tragedy. Through a partnership with the Calhoun Area Intermediate School District, we have a Crisis Intervention Team on site at Verona to help students, parents and staff with this loss. We will also have trained specialists and other staff members available throughout the remainder of the school year, and we encourage students struggling with this loss to access them for ongoing support.”
Saxton says the deputy involved in the crash has been in law enforcement for 20 years. He has been with the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office for five years and was on the Springfield police force before that, according to the sheriff.
Saxton says the deputy will not be put on leave, but offered counseling.
“It’s a very tragic incident that we have here today, to talk about the death of a 11-year-old boy… and my sheriff deputy has to live the rest of his life with this incident,” Saxton said, adding that the deputy is doing “as best he can.”
“It hits home for all of us. We are all humans,” he added.
The crash investigation has been turned over to the Michigan State Police. Saxton says his agency will conduct a separate internal investigation into the case.
***CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story stated the deputy will be put on leave. We regret this error, which has since been corrected.***