A Westminster family is mourning the loss of their 16-month-old daughter after what relatives call a “tragic” accident.
Juan Verde told NBC 5’s sister station Telemundo 39 that the little girl, Leilani, was his brother’s youngest child and only daughter.
The child was killed instantly after being run over by a pickup truck in the family driveway.
According to the Collin County Sheriff’s Office, the family was packing that truck to head to a family member’s home at about 1pm on Sunday.
The truck was backed up in the driveway next to the home’s side door.
Authorities say when the father went inside the home, his four-year-old son grabbed the truck’s keys, started the engine and shifted the truck into neutral.
The truck rolled forward, over the boy’s toddler sister, eventually crashing into a neighbor’s fence.
The little girl died instantly.
When the father heard the sound of the motor, sheriff’s deputies report he ran outside, chasing the truck and trying to stop it.
The family’s pastor rushed to the scene when he heard the news.
He had last seen the little girl at Sunday services, about one hour before.
“We’re trying to stand together as a church and as a family,” said Tom Ogden, pastor of Victory Christian Church in McKinney.
“It’s not the worst yet,” he said. “It’ll be when they can’t put her to bed tonight – that’ll be one of the worst times for them.”
Collin County authorities say the investigation is ongoing.
Neighbors say the little girl was the youngest of the family’s three children.