JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 4-month-old boy died early Monday morning after being injured in a hit-and-run crash Saturday night in Riverside, according to the child's father.
Otha Williams said his son, Otha Williams Jr., died about 2 a.m. Monday.
"At about 1:47 (a.m.) -- I had dozed off -- when I dozed off and fell asleep, by 1:47 (a.m.) the nurses were running in," Williams said. "That's when his heart started failing. I was holding him and kissing him, telling him I love him, and they said, 'He's gone. He's gone.'"
Police said a driver ran a red light on Stockton at Irene streets just after 8 p.m. Saturday, turning left and striking the truck with the baby inside. Williams said his son was in a car seat, but police said the boy (pictured) was sitting on his mother's lap in the front passenger seat.
The child and several other occupants were taken to UF Health Jacksonville. The other victims had minor injuries, according to police.
Williams said he hopes the driver who took off after the crash will be caught soon.
"Basically he killed my son. He kept going. He kept going. But there's nothing I can say," Otha Williams said. "I'm hoping you give yourself up, do the right thing, give yourself up and pay for your crime. You killed my son. I don't know why you ran. You shouldn't have ran. Eventually they'll catch you. Eventually they'll catch you."
Police said they found the vehicle that left the scene. Williams is confident the driver will be found.
"There's really nothing I can say to him. He's a coward to me. That's what he did. I can say that, a coward," Williams said.
Police said there was a child car seat located in the vehicle, but it's undetermined where it was at the time of the crash.
"A car seat really, really reduces the chance of a child being injured," said Jessica Winberry, of Safe Kids Northeast Florida.
Winberry said drivers can install a car seat with either a seat belt or by latching it with lower anchors. Both are safe options. She said it shouldn't move more than an inch side to side, or from front to back. Knowing how to strap the baby in is important, too.
Meanwhile, Williams said he can't believe his only son is gone.
"He was the most important thing to me, ever since he was born," Williams said. "He was the best thing that happened to me. The four months I had with him, those were the best four months of my life."
According to Safe Kids Northeast Florida, 85 percent of people don't properly use car seats. The organization offers free car seat checks, and car seats at a reduced price for people who need one and can't afford it.
For more information, call Safe Kids Northeast Florida at 904-202-4302 to make an appointment for the car seat check or to get a reduced-price car seat.