10-year-old girl is killed while saving toddler from runaway SUV

The community of Lakeside in San Diego County was mourning Kiera Larsen, a 10-year-old girl who died while pushing a 2-year-old out of the way of a moving car Monday evening.

Kiera and the toddler were playing in and around a 1999 Mercedes that was parked on a sloping driveway off Highway 8 Business near Aurora Drive when the car shifted into neutral and started to roll backward about 5:10 p.m., California Highway Patrol Officer Kevin Pearlstein said.

The girl risked her life to push the younger child out of the way and was struck by the oncoming car.

Kiera’s stepmother, who had been with the children moments before but was inside their home retrieving a car battery charger when the incident happened, rushed to provide CPR, Pearlstein said. Paramedics arrived and took her to a hospital, where she died from her injuries.

Officers are still trying to determine how the car, which was parked and not running, shifted into neutral, Pearlstein said. That investigation will include a mechanical inspection of the vehicle. Pearlstein didn’t know the relationship between Kiera and the child she saved.


Kiera attended Blossom Valley Elementary School. Cajon Valley Union Elementary School District Supt. David Miyashiro said the school community is grieving, and crisis counselors will be on hand to talk with students and teachers in the coming days.

David Hernandez and Lyndsay Winkley write for the San Diego Union Tribune.


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