A two-year-old girl has died in Plant City, Florida, after she was crushed beneath the wheels of her great-grandmother's minivan after apparently falling out of an open door.
Great-grandmother Alice Barber had just collected Izbella Bronson's two brothers, aged nine and seven, from a school bus stop a quarter of a mile from home. Izbella was in the rear of Barber's Kia Sedona with one brother as the other ran up the drive towards the family home.
"During that time, [Barber] would allow the sliding door of the van to remain open," said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokesman Larry McKinnon. "Sometimes, the kids would sit there and dangle their feet out and she would travel very slowly. Unfortunately, this time on the way back, she obviously hit something that knocked the child out and underneath the rear wheels."
Izbella was taken to Tampa General Hospital but died shortly afterward. Sheriff McKinnon said no charges were likely against the great-grandmother because the accident occurred on private property.
"It couldn't be more tragic than this," said Sheriff McKinnon. "A child has died. It's all private property so the car seat and all those rules don't apply, unfortunately, on a private property. It's almost like riding in a covered wagon on a hay trip when you are riding in one of those hay wagons."
Sheriff McKinnon said he hoped the tragedy would deter others from risking the safety of children when driving.
"These are potential risks that you take when you put a child that is not secured in a car seat regardless of where it's at," said McKinnon. "It's a lesson learned, a tragic lesson learned, but hopefully it's a message we can send out to everyone. That this is what happens when you practice these habits."