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Published: Friday, 4/30/2010

Grandmother: Tot just beyond grasp when hit

BY BRIDGET THARP
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Moments before Liana Morris found herself performing CPR on her 2-year-old grandson, she said he had been running just beyond an arm's reach to keep up with his older brother.

She said she couldn't have been farther than 5 feet behind him when he was hit by a car driving down the alley beside her home in South Toledo. She screamed as she watched two of the driver's tires roll over the child.

"It just happened so quick," Ms. Morris, 54, said yesterday, perched on the front stoop of a family member's house on Stickney Avenue. "Before I rolled him over, I [saw] the blood rolling down the alley."

The boy wasn't breathing. That's when her medical training as a state-tested nursing assistant kicked in, and she said that she and another family member took turns trying to revive him until emergency crews arrived at the scene in the 600 block of Thayer Street Tuesday afternoon.

It wasn't enough.

Dominic Moran, 2, died about 8 p.m. Wednesday in Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center. An autopsy revealed yesterday that he died of head injuries, Dr. Diane Barnett, deputy Lucas County coroner, said.

The driver, Heather Orth, 34, of 1012 Walbridge Ave., was not injured. An investigation continues pending the results of toxicology tests, police said. No citations had been issued yesterday and Ms. Orth has not responded to requests for comment.

The day began like any other, Ms. Morris said.

Family members say Dominic Moran, with his mom, Crystle Encalado, was a happy child who just turned 2 last month. Family members say Dominic Moran, with his mom, Crystle Encalado, was a happy child who just turned 2 last month.
NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

Both of the boy's parents - Crystle Encalado, 29, and Michael D. Moran, 29 - work at McDonald's locations a bus ride away from the North Toledo home they share. Ms. Encalado was scheduled to work until 6 p.m., which is past closing time at her downtown day care.

That's why her mother, Ms. Morris, picked up Dominic and 7-year-old Justin.

She usually brings them to her house on Thayer at least twice a week.

She usually holds both their hands as she crosses the alley.

"I'm punishing myself, because I could have been holding his hand or carrying him so this didn't happen," Ms. Morris said.

Her daughter, Angel Encalado, 27, comforted her. "It's hard to keep them close," Ms. Encalado said yesterday.

The Encalado and Moran families live about a block away from each other and are longtime friends.

Mr. Moran's father used to treat the Encalado girls and other neighborhood children to baseball games, Ms. Encalado said.

Dominic's parents dated in junior high school before the Encalado family moved to Tennessee in the mid-1990s. After the Encalados moved back, Dominic's parents rekindled their romance almost four years ago.

"There's a lot of bond between the families," Ms. Morris said.

Dominic was a happy child who didn't like to be without his blanket, family members recalled. He turned 2 last month.

"That baby never had a bad day," his father, Mr. Moran, said softly from the front of his house on St. John Avenue. "He always had a smile on his face."

He started to cry.

"This is the worst thing that ever happened," he said. "It is the worst thing that could happen to anybody."

Though the family is mourning, Ms. Morris said they don't blame the driver of the car that hit him.

"I know it was an accident, I really do. But we are hurting right now because we lost him," his grandmother said. "I'm not mad at her. God had a reason for it, and he's in a better place than we are now."

A fund has been set up at KeyBank branches to defray funeral expenses for Dominic's family.

Funeral arrangements for Dominic are pending.

Contact Bridget Tharp at:

btharp@theblade.com

or 419-724-6086.



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