BROOKLYN CENTER, Minn. -- A 14-month-old girl walked or crawled under an SUV in the driveway of her family's Brooklyn Center home Monday afternoon, and was killed instantly when the driver of the truck backed up to move the vehicle away from a grill.
The normally quiet neighborhood quickly filled with police and other first responders, leaving a huge question mark for those who could only wonder why they were there.
"We saw all of this, then not being able to find out what's going on was hard," Colleen Swanson told KARE, "But then finding what actually went on is even harder."
Police say the baby was outdoors playing with two siblings in the 5400 block of Colfax Avenue North, and ended up in the driveway out of the view of the SUV's driver. He had started a fire in a grill, and needed to back up his 2013 Honda Pilot because it was too close to the grill.
"He needed to back up the car, and when he did he saw two of the other kids out of the way and didn't realize the other child was still behind the vehicle," Commander Brian Peters told reporters.
Peters said the mother of the child was at work at the time, and identified the driver of the SUV simply as a relative.
"The mother and father are very distraught."
Neighbors openly imagined how it would feel to lose a child this way.
"Parents shouldn't outlive their kids. That young -- it's a terribly, terribly sad thing," Swanson remarked.
Others pondered how to prevent it.
"Accidents are so bad and they happen so quick. You just have to keep them close," Jeff Haeg, and neighbor who is a father and a grandfather, said.
"You have to have your kids close. You cannot assume they know, or whatever. They don't."
Rear-facing cameras, now available on higher end vehicles, will become standard equipment for most new cars and trucks in 2018.
Federal regulators say 210 people are killed every year by drivers backing up. They predict the new rule will cut those tragic numbers in half.
But there's a chance in this case that the child was between the front and back wheels of the SUV, which would still be a blind spot even if the car had been equipped with a rear view facing camera.
The family has set up a fund to raise money for the girl's funeral. Click here if you would like to donate.