A toddler was killed Sunday in Deerfield, Florida after being hit by an SUV, and the driver was rushed to the hospital with extensive injuries after being dragged from her car and beaten.
Police say Neallie Junior Saxon III, who would have been 2 years old in December, most likely chased a ball that rolled from his yard and into the street when he was hit by the 2007 four-door Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, the Miami Herald reports. Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies said the woman was going the speed limit and most likely didn’t see the toddler, who was shorter than the bumper, as she was watching out for the other children who were also in the road.
Police believe the driver didn’t realize she struck Saxon so she continued driving at the same speed. When she slowed down to stop at a stop sign, angry family members allegedly pulled her out of her car and beat her.
Witness Anthony Clay told Local10 the beating was violent.
“They beat her unmercifully,” Clay said.
The woman, who remains unidentified for her safety, was treated at a local hospital for fractures to her head and her face.
The toddler was airlifted to Broward Health Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
The child’s grandmother, Caroline Chery, told the news station she believes the driver “would have left” and “had no intentions of stopping.”
Witnesses told police that the children “often played outside without adult supervision, as they were on this occasion,” but Chery denied those claims.
She also said that the attention was being put on the beaten driver and not her grandson.
“My grandbaby is lying over there lifeless, but everybody is putting all the focus on that she was battered. What about my grandbaby?”
Anyone who may have any information about the incident is asked to contact BSO THI Detective Donnard Huneke at 954-321-4842 or Broward Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-TIPS (8477) or www.browardcrimestoppers.org.
[Feature photo: Video screengrab]