May 30, 2014

Arlington police check drivers’ phone records in investigation of baby’s death

Family friends of Daniel and Chelsea Bingenheimer set up online donation site to help with funeral expenses for 7-month-old son killed Thursday at Arlington intersection.

Police are investigating the cellphone records of two drivers involved in a collision Thursday morning in which a baby in a stroller was hit and killed, police said.

Investigators are also working with traffic engineers to examine the lights at the intersection of South Cooper Street and California Lane. They are trying to find out whether a southbound red Toyota pickup or a northbound white Chrysler attempting to turn left had the green light, Cheryel Carpenter, a police spokeswoman, said Friday.

There is no red-light camera at the intersection in the 2800 block of South Cooper.

After the vehicles collided, the pickup hit pedestrian Daniel Bingenheimer, 28, and his 7-month-old son, David “Patrick Rebel” Bingenheimer, police said.

The baby was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:01 a.m., according to the Tarrant County medical examiner.

Carpenter said alcohol was not believed to be a contributing factor.

“The Police Department is not able to say with certainty what did or did not happen,” Carpenter said.

But that’s what the Bingenheimer family is impatient to find out.

The baby’s aunt, Tosha Lewis, flew in from Florida on Thursday night.

“We just want to find out who is responsible and for them to take responsibility,” Lewis said. “We want to know why this happened.”

Police identified the car’s driver as 46-year-old Shantell Skillern. She and Daniel Bingenheimer were treated for minor injuries at Medical Center of Arlington and were released, a hospital spokeswoman said.

Phat Cao, 42, the driver of the pickup, apparently was not injured. Attempts to reach him Friday were unsuccessful. The co-owner of the auto repair shop where he works said Cao called in sick Friday.

Memorial website

A family friend, Nick Westerlund of Citrus Heights, Calif., has set up a memorial website. Westerlund is a friend of Daniel Bingenheimer and his wife, Chelsea, 22, both California natives who moved to Texas more than a year ago.

Westerlund said he has five children and fears similar accidents.

“When I read the report that [Daniel] picked up his son and said ‘Look what you’ve done,’ that just killed me, because I would have done the same thing,” Westerlund said as he began to sob.

On Thursday, witnesses told the Star-Telegram that Daniel Bingenheimer picked up David and walked toward the Chrysler yelling.

Westerlund’s page,, links to a fundraising page set up by another friend. “Rebel” was one of the baby’s middle names, and “Bing” is short for his last name, Westerlund said.

As of Friday night, $5,780 had been raised to cover funeral expenses and medical bills. Also, the couple is expecting the birth of a daughter on Aug. 25.

At the intersection, a makeshift memorial of balloons, teddy bears and flowers was growing Friday.

Daniel Bingenheimer left a note to David: “… You were the greatest thing to happen in my life next to marrying your mom. … I wish you would have been able to meet you sister, but we will make sure she knows all about you.”

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