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Tragic Accident Turns Deadly

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Over 100 kids are killed in backover accidents a year.


Yesterday, the 5-year-old daughter of gospel singer Steven Curtis Chapman was killed in a backover accident in her driveway. Apparently, one of Steven's teenage sons backed up in his SUV and did not see little Maria there behind him. What a horrific tragedy.

According to the safety advocacy group Kids and Cars, over 2400 children are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year due a child being struck by or rolled over by a vehicle moving in reverse; at least two are fatally injured each and every week. (This is often known as the "bye bye syndrome" -- because kids saying "goodbye" to a relative as they leave are often run over.) Over 60% of backover incidents involve a larger size vehicle, such as a truck, van or SUV, like the one Chapman's son was driving.

Kids and Cars' recommendations to keep children safe include:

• Walk around and behind a vehicle prior to moving it.

• Know where your kids are. Make children move away from your vehicle to a place where they are in full view before moving the car and know that another adult is properly supervising children before moving your vehicle.

• Teach children that "parked" vehicles might move. Let them know that they can see the vehicle; but the driver might not be able to see them.

• Consider installing cross view mirrors, audible collision detectors, rear view video camera and/or some type of back up detection device.

• Measure the size of your blind spot behind the vehicle(s) you drive. A 5-foot-1-inch driver in a pickup truck can have a rear blind zone of approximately 8 feet wide by 50 feet long.

• Be aware that steep inclines and large SUVs, vans and trucks add to the difficulty of seeing behind a vehicle.

• Hold children's hand when leaving the vehicle.

• Teach your children to never play in, around or behind a vehicle, and always set the emergency brake.

• Keep toys and other sports equipment off the driveway.

• Trim landscaping around the driveway to ensure they can see the sidewalk, street and pedestrians clearly when backing out of their driveway. Pedestrians also need to be able to see a vehicle pulling out of the driveway.

• Never leave children alone in or around cars; not even for a minute.

• Keep vehicles locked at all times; even in the garage or driveway and always set your parking brake.

• Keys and/or remote openers should never be left within reach of children.

• Make sure all child passengers have left the car after it is parked.

• Be especially careful about keeping children safe in and around cars during busy times, schedule changes and periods of crisis or holidays.

Our thoughts go out to the Chapman family in this difficult time.

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33 comments so far | Post a comment now
CHeryl May 22, 2008, 12:33 PM

my heart is breaking at this very moment for the whole family..especially for the son. My prayers are with you steven and your beautiful family. God has her in is arms now.

Valerie May 22, 2008, 12:46 PM

Prayers are going up this very moment. Heavenly Father, comfort this family. We know you cause ALL things to work together for good for those who love You. Please surround each member of this family with those who will love them and support them through this time of great tragedy. We thank you for the Chapmans and their testimony to the world. Bless them, each and every one, and comfort them. In Jesus’ precious name I pray, Amen.

Bill May 22, 2008, 12:49 PM

Steven’s music has been a big part of my Christian walk. Ironically, “Cinderella” was his latest hit. My heart is breaking right now.

kim white May 22, 2008, 1:01 PM

I can not even think of the words to say right now to Steve and his family. My heart is breaking as I read of this tragic accident. It hurts even more for the teenage boy. My prayers are with you all.
Dear God, bring comfort to this family right now, surround them with Your love and peace.
God is holding this little girl right now and she is smiling knowing she is with Jesus.

Cherie May 22, 2008, 1:52 PM

I’m still in shock-My heart is broken and my prayers go out to them big time. Because of them I told my sister about adopting from China and I now have a niece from there. I can only imagine…may God give them all peace and understanding.

Anonymous May 22, 2008, 2:02 PM

Just one more reason TEENS SHOULD NOT BE DRIVING SUVs. I am so sorry for the family.

Lisa B May 22, 2008, 2:21 PM

I just heard of this terrible accident a few hours ago & I am in tears! How AWFUL!!! I’m a big fan of Steven’s & I am praying all day for him & his family~esp. his teenage son who was driving. I am praying this doesn’t scar him for life & God will help him heal. I am diligently praying for the whole family! In Jesus name~Amen!

Lynn H. May 22, 2008, 3:07 PM

I was so very, very sorry to hear about this tragic accident. I can’t even imagine the pain. The Chapman’s are such a faith filled, Christ centered family, I know they will be comforted by the grace of God. Our prayers and thoughts are with them all!

melinda May 22, 2008, 3:18 PM

I too cannot get cinderella out of my head. there is great comfort though in knowing she is now with god. my prayers are with you.

missey  May 22, 2008, 3:21 PM

my heart and prayers go out to this family. i am so sorry

Gayle May 22, 2008, 4:08 PM

My heart is breaking for this entire family but mostly for the teenage brother and what he must be feeling. This family needs the prayers of everyone to lift them up but they also need to talk to a Christian counselor. God is holding that baby in his arms but it is up to all of us to hold the brother.

Anonymous May 22, 2008, 5:12 PM

Forget a Christian counselor…I think this kid will need some heavy duty actual therapy to deal with this.

Marisa May 22, 2008, 5:51 PM

God bless this family in this difficult time….

Christy May 22, 2008, 6:17 PM

I think all of the anons should stop to think before they type. First of all, if you are ashamed to have people know your name you should probably not be saying what you are.

This is a terrible tragedy, and was completely an accident.

With that being said, please be respectful of this family’s feelings and keep your inappropriate comments to yourself. We will continue to keep this family in our prayers.

Gerard May 22, 2008, 8:38 PM

I heard today but just found out the child was Steven’s. Lord be with Steven and his family through this time. The loss of a child has to be the hardest thing to go through. Our heart also goes out for his Maria brother may he be comforted by you Lord.

Our prayers are with the entire family.

Melissa May 22, 2008, 8:49 PM

My heart goes out to the family.

Mandy May 23, 2008, 9:18 AM

Steven has been a huge part of my growing as a child of God. My heart breaks for that family. I have a 7 year old and a 6 month old. I could only imagine what that family must be going through right now. My heart goes out to this family. I will keep you in my prayers and my family’s prayers.

B. Gardner May 23, 2008, 3:37 PM

When tragedy strikes a loved one, even one we may not know personally, we believers have an opportunity to do two things: pray for the Chapman family and show the truth to others about the biblical take on tragedy. Christians know from Romans 8:28 that God is in control of all good and bad. His sovereign grace is at work in all the good and evil things that transpire; actually orchestrating human events for the sake of His glory. I trust that the Chapman family is very clued in to this. On the level of human suffering and experience this is a horror and no doubt a complete accident which may or may not have been preventable. But in the deeper realm of God’s reality, there are no accidents. Which is actually a comfort to “those who love God”. He is constantly at work making all things work together for our good. Sinful, accident prone humans don’t have as much control as we believe. Neither does the devil. Only God and his grace is weaving the story of his glory and mercy through “all things”. Let the world watch and see how the servants of God respond.

An ancient of the faith lost everything he loved and owned in one day when the Lord suggested to the devil that this faithful servant loved him for himself, not for the gifts he’d been given. Satan was allowed by God to kill all of the man’s children, destroy his possessions, and eventually touch the man with disease. It is remarkable to see that Job’s first response was to stand in God’s presence and tear his robes as an act of grief and submission to God. Like all the saints of old, he recognized that God is entitled to write the script any way he wants. Will we be like Job and say, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh, blessed be the name of the Lord”? (Job 1:21) God is greatly glorified when his servants love, trust, and worship him in the worst of times. That is my prayer for the Chapman’s and their family. May they know the presence of God, and hold on to the assurance from Scripture that he is worthy, and he works all things for the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose. He is greater than all the success and gifts he grants us. Even greater than our children. Blessed be the name of the Lord! p.s. prayer is the best therapy

Janice May 23, 2008, 7:11 PM

Hold your son close, his heart is breaking right now. He should be your focus right now. He will need more love than you can give, reach out to your church. I am so very sorry for your tragedy. Don’t let your son get lost in this, get professional help as soon as you can for him. God Bless.

tiny paw-prints May 24, 2008, 7:49 PM

“Prayer is the best therapy” … I agree.

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