The father is too distraught to talk about what happened. He returned home Friday night surrounded by friends, who asked that we give him time to grieve.
Investigators say the three-year-old's father didn't know she was nearby when he began backing his truck out of their driveway in the Lakewood Forest subdivision.
"Our little grand-baby played with her. She was a beautiful little girl. I know she was really their darling, their precious. I don't know how they're gonna go on," neighbor Janet Giesen said.
It was early afternoon. Investigators say there was at least one other adult at the house. It's not clear how the child got outside. The father got in the truck to leave, detectives say, and didn't see the little girl right behind the rear of the truck.
"There's nothing to indicate at this point there was anything reckless in nature, anything similar to that," Harris County Pct. 4 Constable's Office Deputy Michael Combest said.
Authorities say the father screamed for help. A neighbor came running, one who just Friday finished a refresher course in CPR and other emergency techniques.
The house is only a mile and a half from St. Luke's Hospital at The Vintage. They piled into the very same truck that hit the girl. The neighbor apparently drove the father and daughter there. The child, though, was pronounced dead at the hospital.
"It breaks our hearts. I mean it could happen to anyone, anyone. It was all an accident," neighbor Loren Zuber said.
These types of accidents are all too common. To avoid "back overs" the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers several tips:
- Actively check mirrors while backing up
- Teach children not to play in or around cars
- Always walk around your vehicle and check before backing up
- Teach children to move away from a vehicle when a driver gets in or it is started
- Roll down the windows while backing up so you can hear what's going on outside