Police say alcohol and drugs were not a factor in the tragic death of a toddler who was ‘accidentally’ run over by his father in a Brandon, FL Waffle House parking lot last Tuesday.
According to Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, both of the boy’s parents were under the impression that the ‘other’ parent had placed him inside of their SUV.
Moments later, when the boy’s father, Guillermo Junior Montoya Rios, backed the family car out of the parking space, he inadvertently struck the child with his right front tire, causing severe head injuries. Jeremiah Rios, 6/7/16, was transported to Brandon Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
“It’s too late for this family and had the most tragic outcome but if in the future, if we could just ask parents, slow down, make sure you’ve got everybody,” Danny Alvarez, Public Information Officer with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, told WTSP. “We know we get caught up in our day but slow down and we can prevent a tragedy.”
The incident, though heartbreaking and unexpected, is not the first of its kind. In January, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office posted a similar release, stating that a one-year-old child—who was outside playing in the yard with a dog—was accidentally struck by a neighbor’s car as she attempted to leave the residence and pull into her home next door. In both of these cases, neither drugs nor alcohol was involved and no charges were filed.
“Every year, thousands of children are killed or seriously injured because a driver backing up didn’t see them,” states KidsandCars.org, a national nonprofit designed to protect children in and around motor vehicles while on private property.
In April of 2018, Janette Fennell, President & Founder of the organization, issued a press release announcing that rearview cameras had FINALLY become standard on ALL new vehicles.
“After more than 15 years of extraordinary efforts by KidsAndCars.org and other advocacy groups, a long-overdue auto safety standard will be in full effect on May 1, 2018,” she stated, adding that she hopes this measure “will save countless lives, especially of children” (who account for over half of those killed in backover accidents).
Despite the triumphant news, Fennell claims this was the first federal regulation for rear visibility in our nation’s history.
Even so, when it comes to child safety, every win deserves a celebration.
“It doesn’t matter where on earth a vehicle is manufactured,” she cheered, “all passenger vehicles sold or leased in the U.S. will now be equipped with a rearview camera as standard equipment.”
Sadly, the Chevy Tahoe driven by Rios’ father that night was manufactured in 2007.
This may be the best reason ever to buy a new car.