COLLIN COUNTY — A toddler was killed Sunday afternoon when she was run over by a pickup truck in the Collin County community of Westminster.
The Collin County Sheriff's Office said the truck started rolling after the girl's four-year-old brother got into the cab and turned on the ignition.
"The little boy got excited, grabbed the keys, went out... and the truck was a standard, and it went ahead and started," said family pastor Tom Ogden.
The 16-month-old girl — who everyone along Westmoreland Circle called "Dani" — was struck and killed instantly. The truck crashed into a fence.
Investigators said the family had been loading items in the pickup to take to a relative's house. The truck was backed up in the driveway near a side door; the childrens' father was inside the house when he heard the sound of the motor.
The dad looked outside and saw the truck rolling toward a neighbor's fence. He ran after it, but did not get there before it hit the child and the fence.
"The dad and the brother, they still can't understand how that can happen so quickly," said Juan Verde, the victim's uncle. "We're a really tight family, and we don't have too many tragedies in our family, and this is one of them."
"The real truth won't hit them until they don't put her to bed," Pastor Ogden said. "That will be when the real truth hits."
It was just after one o'clock when neighbor Jim West heard what happened. "I was in the living room watching TV," he said. Then he looked outside and saw the little girl wrapped in a blanket.
"The thought of that just breaks your heart," he said. "Those are real good neighbors, you know; I love them to death."
This tiny unincorporated community about 14 miles northeast of McKinney is devastated by the girl's death; trying to make sense of a loss that is almost too much to handle.
"Human help is not enough," Pastor Ogden said. "We've got to have some extra help from God above."
The police investigation continues, and we should have more details about how the tragedy happened later this week.