Reversing car kills toddler - NZ Herald07-Sep-2010
A South Auckland woman who backed over her neighbour's toddler while reversing out of her driveway knew nothing of the accident until the child's family rushed towards her, screaming.
The toddler, believed to be a boy aged between 16 and 18 months, died soon after the accident in Amuri Place, Otara, about 1.20pm yesterday.
The woman, who asked not to be named because she was still in shock last night, said the accident happened suddenly and she was struggling to believe it.
Wrapped in a blanket and surrounded by family who had gathered to support her, she said she was going to Manukau to go shopping with some relatives visiting from Samoa when the accident occurred.
When the family got into the woman's Toyota Land Cruiser, no one was in the driveway.
Then the neighbours were rushing towards the vehicle, screaming.
She stopped at the end of her driveway, but it was too late and the toddler was lying with severe head injuries.
The woman's husband said last night: "They saw them running, yelling ...
and that's when all of them found out something terrible was going on."
The couple, who have three children, 6, 5 and 3 years old, extended their sympathy to their neighbours.
"We're so sorry," the husband said.
"It was an accident ... Even though it's not our child, we feel it in our hearts.
"It was not intentional. [There's] ... nothing else that we can do to make this better again or bring that child back. We're so sorry for them."
He said the family had recently enjoyed a reunion and relatives who left New Zealand a week ago to go back to Samoa were on their way back here to support them.
Being surrounded by family and drawing on their faith would help them through the tough time. The family were also praying for their neighbours.
"We have a God to call on, to hang on to, to cool us down and bring true peace in our hearts. We made a prayer straight after [the accident]."
The husband urged motorists to take extreme caution when driving, although he was not sure his wife could have done anything to prevent the accident.
She believes her car may have been too high for her to see the toddler through her rear or side mirrors.
He said: "Double-check, triple-check - go for another check. Triple's not enough."
Inspector Matt Rogers from the police northern communications centre said officers from the serious crash unit were investigating the accident and it was likely to be weeks before it would be known if charges would be laid.
The Safekids NZ website says that nationally, a child is admitted to hospital every two weeks with serious injuries from a vehicle driving on a private driveway.
A further four children are killed annually, on average, the same way.
A 22-month-old child died on July 25 in Weymouth when hit by a car driven by a family member.
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