Tragedy struck on March 31 in Chester, Pennsylvania, when a mom accidentally ran over and killed her 6-year-old daughter from behind the wheel of her SUV.
According to police, 29-year-old Sharnei Thompson was pulling out of a small parking spot into the street so that her children could open the doors and get into the car, reports WPVI.
Her 4-year-old child, who was sitting in a rear-facing car seat in the SUV, got up and began playing with the window controller and possibly trying to open the door. Thompson then reportedly reached back to try and stop the child and put him or her back into the car seat. It's likely that's when Thompson accidentally put her vehicle in reverse instead of park and stepped on her accelerator.
At that time, the SUV struck two of her children, 6-year-old Layla Rodriguez and a 10-year-old child.
Thompson drove her daughter to a nearby medical center, where the girl was pronounced, dead, according to KYW.
The 10-year-old was not injured.
Police are investigating the incident, but have not filed any charges and believe the death was most likely nothing more than a tragic accident.
"She was a very sweet little girl and her mom loved her, that was her world," said Chandra Byrd, a neighbor whose son was friends with Layla.
It is sadly common for drivers to accidentally strike or run over children while backing out of driveways. Roughly 2,400 children are hit by reversing cars each year (50 children per week), according to Keep Your Child Safe. Of those accidents, approximately 100 children per year, or two per week, die from their injuries. Parents or relatives are overwhelmingly the most likely people to cause these accidental fatalities.
While in Thompson's case, she knew where her children were and likely shifted her car into the wrong position by mistake while tending to her other child, many tragic instances in which children are struck by cars backing up happen because the driver was unaware that the child was behind their car and did not see them as they began reversing.
That's why experts recommend that drivers do a walk-around of their car -- including checking under the vehicle -- before they get in and back up and always know where nearby children are. If you are backing up and lose sight of a child, stop your car immediately until you have a visual on them.