Neallie Junior Saxon III, 22 months old, was struck and killed after chasing a ball into the street in Florida Sunday
Authorities in Florida say a woman who accidentally struck and killed a young boy who ran into the street was later dragged from her SUV and beaten by the victim’s family members.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, 22-month-old Neallie Junior Saxon III was playing with other children in a Deerfield Beach neighborhood at 4.30pm on Sunday when he chased a ball into the street.
A 2007 four-door Hyundai Santa Fe SUV going east in the 300 block of Northwest Fourth Place struck the boy, knocking him to the ground. Police say the driver was going the speed limit but possibly distracted by other children in the street.
Deputies say the driver was apparently unaware of what had happened and continued on her way.
When she braked at a nearby stop sign, several unidentified people, believed to be related to the mortally injured toddler, confronted her, pulled her from the SUV and proceeded to beat her.
‘They beat her unmercifully,’ witness Anthony Clay told Local10.
Saxon was airlifted to a Fort Lauderdale hospital, where he died from his injuries.
Officials say the toddler was shorter than the bumper of this 2007 four-door Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, whose driver likely did not see him
Broward Sheriff’s spokeswoman Gina Carter said Neallie was shorter than the bumper of the SUV and the driver likely could not see him.
The driver who hit and killed him was also hospitalized, suffering from fractures to her face and head.
A press release from the sheriff’s office said that witnesses told detectives that the kids often played outside without adult supervision, as they were on Sunday – a claim that Neallie Saxon’s grandmother, Caroline Chery, disputes.
‘Anybody will tell you, they don’t play in the road,’ she told the station.
Investigators believe the ball rolled or was thrown out of the yard causing several children, among them Neallie, to chase it into the street. The children were at the home to celebrate the 10th birthday of Chery’s other grandson.
Neallie would have turned two in December. His grieving mother posted a selfie with the toddler on her Facebook page Monday, calling the 22-month-old her ‘pride and joy.’
‘Never would I thought I’ll be sending my baby boy to Heaven,’ wrote the mom-of-four. ‘Be that’s Guardian Angel that God has sent you to be.