MERKEL Texas (KTAB/KRBC)- Merkel police arrived to the 800 block of Rose street around 1:00 p.m. Wednesday.in response to a call of a child struck by a vehicle while in the back yard.

Phillip Conklin, Merkel Chief of Police, was one of the first responders on this call.

“When we got there we a 3 year old child who had obvious trauma… We started performing life saving measures that were already in place when we got there. There was already a family member that had already started CPR,” said Conklin.

Conklin says Taylor County EMS were dispatched to the scene, though their 15 mile trip was made that much longer by a passing train. Police on scene remained in constant contact with EMS and did what they could to save the child’s life.

“First and foremost was getting that child to a higher level of treatment… They were delayed, so we made the immediate decision to self transport. So we loaded the child in our squad car,” Conklin said.

MPD intercepted the ambulance on the I-20 access road outside Merkel. EMT’s transporting the child to the nearest hospital administering life saving measures along the way. Unfortunately the child was pronounced dead after arrival.

Investigation by Merkel Police, the Taylor County Sheriffs department, and Child and Family Services found that the driver of the vehicle was a minor and a family member of the deceased. Conklin said while some have moved to assign blame in this tragedy, it is not what’s needed.

“Right now, our community needs to come together for this family. If there was something that we saw or immediately thought ‘that was criminal in nature’ or felt like there would need to be an immediate reaction from somebody’s wrongdoing so to speak. It would have already been done,” said Conklin.

Max Cormack, owner of the local Starbuck Funeral Home, along with other community members offered to cover the funeral costs for the child. Cormack says they are now in the process of setting up a benefit account in the family’s name through First Financial Bank.

“This wasn’t a malicious act, this was just… it was a very tragic accident. And now we need to move forward behind this family and surround this family with kindness and support,” Conklin said.

The investigation is ongoing. Check back with BigCountryHomepage.com for additional details.