A 3-year-old boy was killed in Houston when his mom hit him with an SUV in a parking lot at an apartment complex in the city’s west side Tuesday evening, according to police.
Houston Police Lt. Thurston Roberson called the crash “an unfortunate accident.” He said the boy ran behind her vehicle as she was backing up.
“She never saw him,” he said.
The mother is cooperating with the police investigation, which will determine whether she will face charges. Police did not release the name of the boy or his mother during a press conference.
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The boy was pronounced dead on the scene in a parking lot of The Grand at Westchase apartment complex. He was hit at about 7 p.m. in the 10800 block of Richmond Avenue near Alief. Police are continuing their investigation into the crash and will consult with local authorities to determine whether the mother will be charged.
“We have a driver that was backing out in a sports utility vehicle. The sports utility vehicle, as you know, sits up high,” Roberson said. “Apparently the driver was looking forward and communicating with some people in front of her vehicle and while she backed up the people behind her moved but her own child, a 3-year-old male, ran behind her vehicle as she backed up out of her parking spot, and as a result of the crash the 3-year-old was pronounced at the scene.”
As the mother was backing up, he said there were people both in front of her SUV and behind it. Some teenagers behind her SUV moved, but her son ran behind her vehicle, he said.
“The 3 year old, he just came running, and he ran behind the vehicle as she was backing up,” he said. “She never saw him.”
She did not immediately realize she hit her son, Roberson said. People in the area told her.
He could not say specifically whether another adult was watching the boy, saying he was “supervised to some extent.”
“Again, it was a 3 year old, and we know how that can be, with children of that age. There were other kids out there, other people, and the kid just got away,” he said.
Police collected the SUV into evidence, which will be processed to determine whether any other factors contributed to the crash. They are also investigating whether the mother was intoxicated.
“As of right now there is no indication [of intoxication] but we are checking into that, and we will eliminate that as being a factor if need be,” he said. “At this point, it’s just an unfortunate accident.”
He described the mother as “distraught” and cooperative with investigators.
“Of course she’s distraught, and she’s managing the best that she can in order to facilitate us with the information that we need so that we can conduct this investigation, but quite naturally she is distraught about what happened,” he said.
Police will consult with the local district attorney’s office and the vehicle assault team to determine whether any charges will be filed, Roberson said.
Police tweeted a picture of a residential area. They described the crash as an “accident.”
Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo replied to his police department’s tweet, describing the news as “heart breaking.”
“Anytime we lose a child or any life to a traffic crash, we all lose,” he said. “Sending thoughts of healing and comfort to the family.”
Reporter Brett Buffington of KHOU Channel 11 said the boy’s mother was backing up in her SUV when she ran over the child in The Grand at Westchase apartment complex.
Buffington said drivers should avoid Richmond Avenue near West Beltway 8.
Reporter Jessica Willey with KTRK Channel 13 also reported from from the scene.