Sometimes, the most tragic types of deaths are the ones caused by mundane activities we do every day — which is exactly how a Virginia man lost his 2-year-old son this week.
According to reports, Bairon Alexander Zapata (pictured above) was accidentally run over by his father in their driveway, leaving the family devastated. The father reportedly had no idea that his toddler was outside at the time.
Fairfax County Police confirmed in a press release that the accident happened outside of the boy’s home in Fairfax on Monday evening around 6:45. Cops who arrived at the scene found the toddler “suffering from serious injuries” and pronounced him dead a short time after.
Ultimately, detectives determined Bairon’s dad was backing his 2005 Ford F350 out of their driveway when he hit the child with his truck. Police are investigating the incident, but don’t suspect foul play and confirmed that alcohol was not a factor in the crash.
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Naturally, the grieving father was extraordinarily distraught over the heartbreaking incident. The man told Telemundo 44 he thought his son was inside the house at the time, saying through tears:
“I put him inside and told him to stay inside and he said, ‘OK, Daddy,’ but I didn’t realize when he came out again. It was too late when the [truck accident] happened later.”
To make matters worse, the boy’s 4-year-old sister witnessed the deadly accident, according to his mother, Kelly Castillo. She said of her son, who would have turned 3 in October:
“My boy was a happy boy. Just on Sunday, we went to a river to spend the whole day with him as a family.”
His aunt, Iris Zapata, added:
“He was very happy. When we were around him, he would say, ‘Why are you serious? I came to play with you all.’”
The boy’s other aunt, Monica Gudiel, set up a GoFundMe page to help her nephew’s family with funeral expenses. In it, she wrote:
“Our hearts are heavy to announce the tragic passing of little Bairon. 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.”
Monica described the child as “full of life… always laughing and captivating many hearts,” adding:
“He impacted many lives with his smile and way of being such a sweetheart in his short life. We are left tonight with countless memories that we will hold on to forever.”
So far, the page has raised over $15,000.
As the family continues to grieve, they’re also urging other parents to be more mindful when driving. According to the Kids and Cars organization, at least 50 children are run over by vehicles each week – 70% of which involve a parent or close relative behind the wheel.
The org recommends installing cameras in the back of vehicles and locks at the top of doors to prevent these kinds of accidents, as well as making sure small children are supervised every time someone arrives or leaves the house. Moreover, parents should make sure to check around the car before backing up.
Our hearts go out to the Zapata family at this difficult time. If you want to donate to their GoFundMe page, click HERE.
[Image via GoFundMe]