A Texas toddler struck and killed by a car in a Houston apartment complex parking lot has died, and security footage caught the horrifying incident unfolding.
KHOU reports that Gissel Vazquez, 18, was walking ahead of her 18-month-old son, Alan Villeda, on Wednesday afternoon while holding her 2-month-old daughter in her arms. The little boy’s 3-year-old cousin was running to catch up with Vazquez as Alan toddled behind in the parking lot of an apartment complex off of the 6300 block of Tierwester.
According to the Houston Police Department, Vasquez then walked into an apartment, leaving the two boys outside, when a white Impala pulled out of a parking spot, drove forward, and ran over Alan. Authorities subsequently arrested Vazquez and charged her with child endangerment.
Gissel Vazquez just walked into court surrounded by loved ones. The 18 yr old is being charged with endangering a child after her 1 year old baby boy was killed Wednesday. Police say Vazquez left him unattended in an apartment complex parking lot and he was hit by a car #khou11 pic.twitter.com/vnlmOLP4BI
— Janel Forte (@JanelKHOU) August 16, 2019
Sean Teare of the Harris County District Attorney’s office explained that the child endangerment charge, although a felony, would give the teen mother a chance to raise her infant daughter “appropriately” without spending years in prison on a more severe charge.
“We’re putting (Vasquez) in a position where she can raise that child appropriately and so I think that was the driving force,” Teare said. “This is not a murder charge. Probation, deferred adjudication, things like that are available. And again we’re at the very beginning of this case.”
Vasquez’s cousin reportedly said the entire incident has been misunderstood and that Vasquez didn’t know the children were walking behind her.
“This was an accident,” Juriyoel Hernandez told ABC Houston. “Right now, they’re telling her it’s her fault, and it’s not her fault. They’re blaming her and they don’t even know her story. For sure, she thought her sister was taking care of her kid.”
Lynn Nguyen, Chief of Vehicular Crimes with the Harris County District Attorney’s Office, however, said Vasquez knew the children were behind her.
“It’s not intentional; it’s reckless……She looked back at the kids and saw them following her. She went into the apartment when the victim was 100 feet behind her.”
Meanwhile, family members of the suspect are pushing to have the driver of the car charged, since she reportedly left the scene after the incident.
The driver is not currently facing charges but prosecutors said the investigation is still early. The driver told police she left the scene because she didn’t realize she had hit the child. When she later returned, she took a drug and alcohol test and passed, according to police.
Vasquez is currently out of jail on bond and still allowed to see her infant daughter, but only through supervised visits.
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[Feature Photo: Alan Villeda/GoFundMe]