Family wants driver charged after toddler killed by vehicle in SE Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The family of a woman charged after her 18-month-old son was killed by a car in southeast Houston is urging police to charge the driver who hit him.

Surveillance video obtained by Eyewitness News shows the heartbreaking moment little Alan Villeda was run over by the neighbor's car Wednesday afternoon.

Gissel Vasquez, 18, was charged with endangering a child on Thursday.

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Police say the child was killed when he fell behind in a parking lot and was hit by a woman who was pulling forward in her vehicle.

It all happened in the parking lot of a small apartment complex at 6305 Tierwester St.

In the video, Vasquez can be seen carrying her baby daughter in her arms as she walks to a relative's apartment. After she has crossed most of the parking lot, her nephew, 3, is seen following behind.

The video then shows a neighbor getting into her white car and backing up. As she does so, little Alan appears on camera trying to follow his cousin. That's when the car, driving forward, runs over Alan.

In the video, almost two minutes pass with Alan still lying on the ground. Then, you see the cousin pointing to Alan, and Vasquez comes running.

She picks up her son and is heard screaming on the video.

Prosecutors say the fact that Vasquez walked the entire length of the parking lot, not paying attention to the children behind her, is why they charged her with child endangerment.

"The probable cause was that she was negligent in the abandonment of this child," said Sean Teare of the Harris County District Attorney's Office. "She allowed the child under the age of 2 to just walk through a parking lot."

Family members though, say Vasquez had left the two boys with her sister. She had no idea they ran out and followed her.

"This was an accident," cousin Juriyoel Hernandez said. "Right now, they're telling her it's her fault and it's not her fault, they're blaming her and they don't even know her story. For sure, she thought her sister was taking care of her kid."

Bystanders who saw what happened rushed to give aid to the child, but he was unresponsive. Officers who arrived at the scene pronounced the child dead.

The driver returned a few minutes later after she was contacted by police and given a sobriety test, which is standard in fatality cases.

"They should slowly check the video again, slowly," said Rose Miranda, an aunt in the family. She and others want prosecutors to charge the driver, arguing she hit Alan driving forward, and should have seen the child.

A 3-D accident reconstruction should help determine if the child was in the driver's blind spot.

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