Tragic accident claims life of 2-year-old

Bob Clark

A local family is in mourning today after a child was struck and killed on County Route 70A Monday evening.

Two-year-old David Stoddard, of 2179 County Route 70A, was hit and killed by a pickup truck around 6:25 p.m. Monday.

State police reported the child walked out onto the road and into the path of a 1994 Chevrolet pickup truck, operated by Lee Houghtaling, 52, of Hornell, that was west-bound on County Route 70A.

Investigators do not know why the child walked out into the roadway.

The Steuben County 911 Center received a phone call from the residence at 6:28 p.m., and Trooper John Hardy was the first law enforcement officer on the scene, arriving within five to 10 minutes.

The state police Accident Reconstruction Team is still investigating the accident, which will not have a final report for at least 30 days, according to Inv. Miklos Szoczei.

Troopers, however, said long skid marks were left on the road by Houghtaling's vehicle, which indicate he applied his brakes in an attempt to avoid the child.

“Based on my investigation, I don't think it was anything more than a tragic accident,” said Szoczei.

Stoddard was transported by a Hornell Fire Department ambulance to St. James Mercy Hospital in Hornell, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Stoddard was the son of Matthew Stoddard and Lisa Mahdy, and was one of five children in the family.

Matthew Stoddard and David's 14-year-old brother, whose name was not released, were home at the time of the accident.

The stretch of Route 70A in front of the house is relatively straight and level. The speed limit on that section of roadway is 55 miles per hour.

Houghtaling and a passenger in the truck were not injured, and no other vehicles were involved in the accident, troopers said. Troopers also said that no charges are going to be filed against Houghtaling in connection with the accident.