Tennessee family mourns death of 9-year-old hit by a car in the driveway
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT/Gray News) – A family in Knoxville is mourning the loss of 9-year-old Brooklyn Grace Spears who was visiting family in Florida when she was hit by a car in the driveway of a Fort Myers home on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021.
“I told her I didn’t want her outside by herself and I was walking back outside and that’s when I saw her on the ground,” the girl’s mother, Amanda Neubacher, told WVLT.
Neubacher said her husband, Nicholas Neubacher, was coming home from work when Brooklyn ran to the driveway to meet her stepdad.
He was parking a pickup truck when Brooklyn stepped out from two parked cars and was hit by the truck, according to family.
“My husband was out there trying to help her until paramedics arrived,” said Amanda Neubacher.
Brooklyn was taken to the hospital in critical condition and later died.
“I just wish I could fix everything, and I can’t,” said Nicholas Neubacher.
Brooklyn’s father, Joshua Spears, was on his way to Texas when he was called and given the news that his daughter had been hit.
“She’s my best friend and that got taken from me and it’s just not fair,” Spears said.
According to Safe Kids Worldwide, more than 9,000 children are treated in emergency rooms for injuries obtained when they were left unsupervised inside or around motor vehicles.
Officials with the Florida Highway Patrol offered the following safety tips in regards to children and driveway safety:
- Teach children to never play in, on, around, or under vehicles. Keep toys or bicycles off the driveway.
- Designate safe play areas for your children that are off the driveway and away from vehicles.
- If children play in the driveway, have an adult supervise at all times.
- Keep vehicles in driveways or garages locked and store keys out of children’s reach to avoid children getting in a vehicle and turning it on or moving it on accident.
- When backing out of the driveway or a parking spot:
- Walk around your vehicle to check for children playing and make sure all children are safe and accounted for.
- Turn off your radio to better hear your surroundings. Roll down windows to listen for children or pedestrians.
- Know your vehicle’s blind spots and look again before backing. Check your rearview and side mirrors.
- Keep your foot on the brake until you completely shift into reverse. Look directly through the rear window and back out slowly.
- Look both ways especially over a sidewalk or other area where children or pedestrians are present like school zones and residential areas.
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