Toddler dies after being run over in driveway

Girl would have been 2 in July

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A nearly 2-year-old girl was killed Saturday morning when she was run over by a vehicle her father's boss was driving in the driveway of her home, police said. 

Police responded to the fatal mishap on the Northside at 11:05 a.m.

Abbigayle "Abbi" Smith was hit by a car backing out of her family's driveway, police said.

According to the family, Abbi's father, Phillip Smith, was doing a side job when his boss came by to see if he was home. Abbi was run over as she ran around the back of the boss' truck as he was backing out of the, the family said. 

Abbi would have been 2-years old on July 22. 

The family also has an 8-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter. Phillip Smith's wife is pregnant and due in October.

The family said the man who hit their daughter is good family friend and Phillip Smith's boss. 

News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said the incident is a harsh reminder for drivers to check their blind spots in any situation. He said in a driveway, it's best to get out of the car and check everything before leaving.

Statistics show 60 percent of vehicles involved in these cases are large trucks and commercial vans. Most of the victims are small children between the ages of two and four.

"It's very common," Gil Smith said. "About 50 kids a week in the United States are hit by cars that are backing up.”

Smith said people tend to be more lax driving in their neighborhoods because they are comfortable and familiar with their surroundings.

“If you are inside the car, it’s hard to tell sometimes where the blind spots are, "Gil Smith said. "It really depends how a person sets their mirrors, you want to set them out wide, but even still you are not going to be able to see down low and behind the wheel of the car, you are not going to see anything at all that is directly behind the car.”

Smith said it’s best to get out of the car and walk around the back to double check that no one in the area could get hit. It's the place many people consider a safe haven that could easily turn into a danger zone.

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