Toddler Dies After Being Struck By Distracted Driver Who Was On Her Phone

by Madison Vanderberg
CBS Austin

Texas family hopes their daughter’s death reminds drivers to stay off their phones and pay attention to the road

A family in Round Rock, Texas lost their daughter after a distracted driver hit her in a parking lot near a park. Parents Chris and Jamie White took their three kids to the soccer fields when their two-year-old daughter Allie Estelle sprinted across the parking lot to find her brothers on the field and was fatally struck by a distracted and speeding driver.

Chris was in the process of putting sunscreen on his daughter when he turned his back for a second to put the sunscreen away. It was in that second that Allie ran across the parking lot.

“As she was running, I saw the car coming really quickly from the main road that didn’t slow down, and I started screaming and ran after her,” Chris told CBS Austin. “And within a matter of two seconds, my poor baby was kind of knocked over with the front fender. And I was screaming and telling them to stop. I was reaching to grab her, [and then] the back of the vehicle went right over her.”

This particular parking lot at Old Settlers Park is adjacent to two soccer fields and is situated on a larger campus that includes a playground. Onlookers told CBS Austin that the driver was on the phone and driving too fast, which is scary anywhere, but even more egregious considering it was in a parking lot outside a recreational area where kids play.

“The lady came out of the car on her cell phone and didn’t appear to even know what she had done,” Chris added. “I think they thought they ran over a soccer ball.”

Round Rock Police said the incident appeared to be an accident and the driver will not be charged. Now Chris wants to talk to the city about placing safeguards in the parking lot to slow down speeding cars and ensure this doesn’t happen again.

“If there had been a speed bump anywhere in the parking lot coming off the main road, they would’ve had to have hit the speed bump and they would’ve damaged their car and not hit my baby,” said Chris. “I want to talk to the city and try to find out how we can do something, at least to prevent this tragedy from happening to other children.”

Young Allie lost her life that day, but her parents hope her story serves as a reminder to put your phone away and exercise cautious driving every day, but especially in areas — like a soccer field — where children are certain to be roaming.

“Maybe we could save other babies from having to go through this, and other parents from having to feel this heartache,” said Jamie. “If we could help people change a little of their habits to be safer, then there’s positive coming out of this.”

Allie’s obituary features a photo of her favorite character, Rapunzel, and it describes Allie as a tiny, but rambunctious young girl who “lit up everyone’s lives with immense, unforgettable love and laughter,” who loved gymnastics, collecting rocks, and dressing up as a princess or a mermaid.

“She was such a tiny little girl with such a larger than life personality that left a lasting impression on all who met her,” the obituary reads.

Let this story be a reminder to slow down and always put your phone away while driving. Allie’s family’s only hope is that her story spares another family from experiencing a tragedy like theirs.