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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Motorists drive near where an 18-month-old wandered into traffic and was hit in Cottonwood Heights Friday, July 12, 2013.

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — An 18-month-old boy was hit by a car and seriously injured after walking into traffic on Fort Union Boulevard Friday.

But police say the accident could have been far worse.

A mother and father were standing at a three-way intersection near 1450 East and Fort Union about 1 p.m. with their young child. The parents reportedly became involved in an animated conversation and their attention was briefly diverted away from their child, said Cottonwood Heights Police Sgt. Scott Peck.

That's when the boy wandered 10 feet into the busy road. The toddler walked right into the path of a Jeep Cherokee traveling 30 to 35 mph, Peck said. The boy bounced off the tire, slammed into the pavement and bounced off the ground according to witnesses. Peck described it as a "violent" collision with the street.

But there was no evidence that the boy went under the vehicle. If the timing had been just a quarter of a second off, the car would have likely run over the boy, Peck said.

The boy suffered facial injuries and was complaining of his arm being sore to the touch, he said. Doctors later listed the boy in stable condition.