Toddler killed in driveway was 'everybody's child'

A little boy killed in the driveway of his family home in Otara was thought of as everybody's child by the South Auckland community.

The 18-month-old was tragically killed on Tuesday evening, struck by a car on the driveway of his home on Gilbert Rd at about 5pm.

The boy lived with his paternal grandparents and parents, who a neighbour said were devoted to him, despite both being only 18 years old.

The pair are former pupils of Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, and the school's principal, Peter Uys, visited them today to pay respects and offer help.

"Under the circumstances, they are being so courageous and so brave, and I can't imagine the grief that they are going through," Mr Uys said.

He said they were surrounded by family and community members to support them.

He said the little boy was "the village boy - he was well-known in that village by everybody and he was considered the child of everybody. "It's a very sad situation."

Mr Uys said the family was busy organising the funeral, which would likely be held over the weekend or on Monday.

Manukau East MP Jenny Salesa also paid a visit the family today to express her condolences and offer her assistance.

"My thoughts go out to the family during this time of grief. It is indeed sad that their beloved 18-month-old has passed away in unexpected and tragic circumstances.

"As a mother of two daughters, my heart goes out to the toddler's parents, grandparents and the extended family," Ms Salesa said.

After the accident, the little boy was rushed to nearby East Tamaki Healthcare, but died soon after.

One witness said he saw a woman wailing, surrounded by police, "on the cold concrete in Otara", while another saw the family outside the medical centre crying.

Some neighbours said they were so shocked by the death of the child, they don't know how to approach the family.

"We want to tell them how sorry we are, but it's not going to bring him back," one man said.

On Tuesday, witness Stefan Ruta described seeing the aftermath of the tragedy.

He was leaving his home nearby when he heard a "big bang" and "saw the ... father, running up the driveway. He was in really big shock. Another man jumped in the car and they went to the doctors".

Mr Ruta said he knew both parents and believed the toddler was their only child. "I'm in shock ... I've got two little ones myself. I'm going to give them a big hug."

Another neighbour said the toddler's parents were devoted to him.

"Even though they are young, they are really good parents. You could see they loved their child."

Police are yet to name the toddler.

- NZ Herald

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