Toddler struck, killed by car while in stroller

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by Erika Flores and Natalie Brand

Bio | Email | Follow: @ErikaFloresTV

Additional reporting by Jill Galus

Posted on March 20, 2014 at 6:27 PM

Updated Monday, Mar 24 at 10:44 AM

PHOENIX -- A toddler is dead after being hit by a car while in his stroller Thursday.

The 3-year-old boy's baby sitter was pushing him through a parking lot near 75th Avenue and Encanto Boulevard.

“She stopped to put the stroller down off the curb, and this red maroon car came and hit the stroller,” said Steven Tarango, a child who witnessed the crash.

Police said the driver stopped at a stop sign, then drove northbound and hit the stroller.

Tarango said the baby sitter was knocked to the ground.

"The baby was on the floor too, and I got out of the car to go see and all I saw was just blood,” he said.

Tarango said his mom called 911 and he helped her set up a barrier around the scene.

"She just told me to put all these carts around so no cars can pass by,” he said.

Police said the toddler's father was in the area when he heard the commotion and went to the scene to see his child on the ground.

"He pretty much saw what happened," said Rene Galaz, a family friend who visited the scene Thursday night.

Galaz said the father went to the baby sitter's house to pick up his child and was told she was at Walmart, so he drove over to the shopping center to look for them.

"The whole family is sad about what happened," said Cesar Garza, the baby sitter’s brother-in-law.

He said his sister-in-law is always very cautious, and he doesn't understand how this could have happened.

"There's a lot of numbness with the family right now," Phoenix police spokesman Sgt. Trent Crump said shortly after the accident. "They are gathered over here. They don't want to leave, as you can imagine, so we are trying to deal with them but also try to figure out what happened and investigate the accident."

Crump said the boy's immediate and extended family vowed to stay at the scene until the Maricopa County Medical Examiner arrived to take the baby's body.

Police are still investigating but say the 22-year-old driver of the Pontiac sedan is cooperating. He was questioned Thursday evening but then released.

Some witnesses told officers they believed the driver was on his cellphone at the time, but not texting.

Police found marijuana in the driver’s car but say it's too early to know whether impairment was a factor.

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