SHELBY, NC (WBTV) - Police are calling it a freak accident – a little girl and her car seat fell out of a moving pickup truck as it made a turn in Shelby Wednesday.
It happened at 3:23 p.m. at the intersection of Dekalb and Warren Streets. Shelby police say a child was in a back seat of a Chevy Silverado and was in a car seat when the truck made a turn and the door then flew open.
The girl was thrown out of the vehicle. She died at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte a short time later.
Mechanic Michael Strong was working near the scene.
"It's hard to swallow," he said.
Surveillance video at Strong's auto shop shows the truck turning right at the intersection. Moments later, the 16-month-old and her car seat fall onto the road.
Strong says he saw a crowd starting to form, and he came out to help.
"I just wanted to support the baby's head," he said. "But the paramedics came and I stepped back and let them handle what they had to do."
That is the moment he says he realized he knew the little girl.
"She goes to higher learning with my children," he said. "And I see her and I talk to her every day. And she's a real precious child."
The Shelby Police Department says this was all a "freak accident."
"The loss of life is horrible anyway," Chief Jeff Ledford says. "When it's a child it's even worse"
While the department is still investigating how exactly this happened, Chief Ledford says it is a time to urge drivers to double check children's car seats.
"This is extremely important," he said. "To make sure when you're buckling your children in, that not only is that car seat installed, but it's installed correctly."
Ledford says there are a number of local agencies that will walk you through car seat installation, including the Shelby Police Department, any time.