A Virginia family is grieving the death of a 2-year-old this week after the boy was struck as his father backed his truck out of the driveway.
Bairon Alexander Zapata Castillo, known as Alex, was identified as the victim, according to a GoFundMe page created by his aunt for funeral expenses.
"Our hearts are heavy to announce the tragic passing of little Bairon," the boy's aunt, Monica Gudiel, wrote on the page. "A parent should never have to go through the pain my cousin/sister and her husband are going through losing their toddler in a very tragic way."
A press release from the Fairfax County Police Department said that officers reported to the scene at 6:43 p.m. on June 7. They located the 2-year-old, who was suffering from serious injuries until he was pronounced dead by rescue personnel.
"Detectives determined the boy’s father was backing his 2005 Ford F350 out of the driveway when he discovered his son was struck by the truck," the release stated. "Detectives from our Crash Reconstruction Unit continue to investigate the circumstances that led to the crash, but do not suspect foul play. Alcohol was not a factor."
Through tears, the toddler's father, Byrol Zapata, told Telemundo 44 he had put his son inside and told him to stay inside.
"He said, 'OK, Daddy.’ But I didn't realize when he came out again,” the father said in Spanish as he sobbed inconsolably. “When the truck accident happened it was too late.”
Alex's mom, Kelly Castillo, told NBC Washington her husband was outside trying to fix his truck.
"Then when he was about to back up, he took him inside and left him inside, but I didn't see when he got out," she said. "My 4-year-old daughter saw the whole incident."
As the family grieves the unimaginable loss of Alex, who would have turned 3 in October, the boy's father shared, "Please take care of your children."
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The non-profit Kids and Cars estimates that in the U.S. at least 50 children are backed over by a vehicle every week and more than 60% of backing up incidents involve a larger-size vehicle.
To prevent accidental backovers, the safety group shared the following recommendations on its website:
- Use rearview cameras and sensors on your vehicle.
- Keep home doors locked and install locks at the top of doors in your home so children cannot get outside on their own.
- Create habits to ensure children are directly supervised every time someone is arriving or leaving the home.
- Walk completely around your vehicle scanning the area for children and pets prior to moving a vehicle.
- Do not allow children to play in driveways, cul‐de‐sacs or parking lots unsupervised.
- Roll down the driver’s side window when backing so you can hear if someone is warning you to stop.
- Trim landscaping around the driveway to ensure drivers can see the sidewalk, street and pedestrians clearly when backing out of their driveway.
- Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.