Virginia

Parents Speak About Losing Infant Son in Crosswalk Crash

They say they are sharing their story to prevent distracted driving

A mother who lost her infant son in a crash while pushing him in a stroller at a Virginia intersection says she relives the moment every day.

Mindy Schulz was crossing Riverside Parkway in Lansdowne with her 5-month-old son Tristan on Aug. 31, 2016, when an SUV turning onto the road struck them.

Schulz said the sudden loss of her baby was like “literally feeling your soul being ripped from you.”

Her husband Rod Schulz rushed to the hospital and a doctor walked up to him.

“And she says your wife’s going to be OK. Your son didn’t make it. And that’s when all the light in the world just vanished,” Rod Schulz said.

The driver of the SUV, John Miller, was sentenced in January to a 12-month jail sentence for reckless driving and failure to yield. In addition to the sentence, Miller was fined $2,500 for reckless driving and $250 for failure to yield.

"I don't know how he can say he didn't see us," Mindy Schulz said. "Every day I have to go through that intersection and I replay it in my mind every single time. And I don't know how he can say he didn't see us."

Prosecutors dropped a charge of involuntary manslaughter against Miller because they could not prove beyond a reasonable doubt he was using his phone at the time of the crash.

A witness to the devastating crash said Miller was using his cellphone. But other witnesses said he was driving normally. Forensic records show his cellphone was not in use at the moment he crashed into the mother and infant, court records show. The phone had been plugged in and was charging in the car.

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Miller's defense recently asked a judge to allow him to have a restricted license to drive himself to his approved work release program. The judge denied the request.

The defense said that Miller feels a deep remorse, but the Schulzes say they met with him before his sentencing and they feel he stopped short of true remorse.

“If he had come and said, 'I would do anything to make sure that your child is not forgotten, he will live, and he will matter,' that’s all we wanted. I just wanted to know my baby mattered. And what I saw in him - my child was just a speed bump,” Mindy Schulz said.

Mindy and Rod Schulz, say that since the trial has ended, they have decided to share their story to raise awareness about the consequences of distracted driving.

“Just slow down. Slow down your mind. Slow down your anxiety. Slow down your to-do list and just breathe,” Mindy Schulz said.

CORRECTION (April 20, 2018, 7:15 a.m.): An earlier version of this article incorrectly spelled the first name of Rod Schulz.

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