JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 2-year-old died Monday, hours after being backed over by a car Sunday night at an apartment complex off Atlantic Boulevard, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said.
Police said the boy's mother was visiting his grandmother at the Mathews Crossing Apartments on Century 21 Drive and asked her to watched her two small children while she went to the store.
The 2-year-old, Kristopher Jackson Jr., was able to leave the grandmother's apartment before she realized it and he was hit by his mother as she backed out of a parking spot.
Kristopher, who would have turned 3 years old in August, was driven to Memorial Hospital by his grandmother.
"He loved to dance and sing. He always picked wild flowers for his mom and I," a family member told News4Jax.
According to the police report, there were five other family members with Kristopher when it happened. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to pay for funeral expenses.
Traffic homicide detectives investigating said Kristopher's mother showed no signs of impairment and they are treating the death as accidental. The Florida Department of Children and Families was notified.
Safe Kids of Northeast Florida said over 260 deaths and 15,000 injuries occur each year from someone backing onto a person. Children under the age of 5 are at most risk.
Safe Kids of Northeast Florida said accidents like this can happen quickly and easily.
"A lot of times (toddlers) just dart out if they aren’t going with you and they want to go, and they dart out and you don’t know they’ve done that. You can’t see them out there," said Cindy Dennis with Safe Kids. "Get in the habit of doing a five-second check around the car. Make sure there is no one back there."
Crime and safety analyst Gil Smith also said that even with backup camera technology in newer cars, you can’t just rely on that for safety.
"It's important to check the back of your vehicle before you go in reverse if you have kids," Smith said.