ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. | Danny Bampton loved animals, so to those who knew him, it was no surprise he'd try to rescue a wounded duck from the highway.
That act of compassion cost the 9-year-old eastern Missouri boy his life on Wednesday.
Police say Danny was riding with his mother when he saw a duck on Highway P near a relative's home in a rural area of St. Charles County. He asked if he could save it.
The car stopped, and Danny got out, put the duck in a roadside culvert, then tried to cross back over the two-lane road to his mother's car.
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That's when Danny was struck by a westbound Subaru Legacy. Danny died at the scene.
The driver's view of Danny may have been blocked because the child was obscured behind an oncoming passing car. Authorities said speed was not a factor and criminal charges are not likely to be filed.
"There's absolutely nothing suspicious about it," said Sgt. Ryan Burckhardt of the Missouri Highway Patrol.
Danny, the second-youngest of six children, was scheduled to begin the fourth grade on Monday at St. Joseph School in Josephville, where principal Dwight Elmore described him as a respectful, good-natured kid.
"Danny's an all-around boy," Elmore said. "Always had a smile on his face. Really, just a wholesome kid."
The family's pastor, the Rev. Larry Huber of St. Joseph Parish, said Danny loved hunting with his family and had a compassion for wildlife.
"He was just drawn towards animals," Huber said. "All animals."
Elmore said the Bamptons and their extended relatives make up at least one-third of the church's parishioners. "This is going to put a huge void in a lot of folks' lives," Elmore said.
A Mass to honor Danny's memory was Thursday. Funeral arrangements were pending.