No charges were filed against a driver who backed up Monday evening and ran over a baby, killing the one-year-old boy in an apartment-complex parking lot in West Des Moines. The driver’s mother, who was babysitting the child, says he slipped away from her for just a moment and the driver didn’t see the toddler when he started up the pickup.
Iowa State Department of Transportation Drivers’ Safety Specialist Scott Falb says it’s hard to track such cases. He says the D-O-T doesn’t get a lot of those statistics reported because often such accidents happen in driveways and parking lots, private property rather than public roadways.
Talking with law officers about similar incidents, he says he’s learned they do happen, and though they’re rare, it should remind drivers to be aware of what they can see — and do everything possible to avoid problems they won’t be able to see once they’re in the vehicle. He says overall alertness will help keep a driver mindful of what you can’t see. That includes looking for all possible problems before you get into the vehicle and things become hidden from view.
He says you can be aware of what’s going on, and if a toddler breaks the hold of an adult and starts wandering off, you can take that as an early warning not to move until that toddler’s been accounted for.
At least three young children in the past year in Iowa died when they were run over by vehicles, and often it’s a parent or other relative who’s involved in the accident. Falb says every year we get a small number of such “back-overs,” and it’s a tragic reminder for drivers to look around us and not just assume that the coast is clear. The driver of the truck that ran over the 1-year-old this week says he looked around when he started up the vehicle and before he put it into gear, but did not see the child.