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Mother backs car over toddler Daughter slips out of house, is killed

An Amherst toddler died Tuesday afternoon, just hours after her mother backed over the girl with her car, police said.

Kristin McCrea, 26, of Cornell Avenue in Eggertsville, told investigators that she thought her 22-month-old daughter, Collett, was in their house while she went to the garage to back her car out.

McCrea said she had intended to leave the girl inside the house just long enough to get the car out because it was difficult to place her into the car seat from inside the garage.

But somehow, Collett got outside and McCrea did not notice.

She began backing the car out of the garage "and did not realize she had hit her until [the girl] came into view in front of the car," said Capt. Patrick McKenna of the Amherst Police traffic bureau.

In a panic, McCrea scooped her daughter up into her arms and carried her inside, where she noticed the child was turning pale.

She ran back outside with the girl, screamed for help and called 911 from her cell phone at 10:58 a.m.

Firefighters arriving at the scene saw the mother performing mouth-to-mouth on the girl.

The toddler was rushed to Women and Children's Hospital by Twin City Ambulance as Amherst police followed behind. Collett was pronounced dead at 2:45 p.m., McKenna said.

Accident investigators were probing the incident, but McKenna said there was no indication that the death was anything more than a horrible accident.

Counseling was made available to Eggertsville firefighters Tuesday afternoon in the company's fire hall on Eggert Road .

"It's so tragic," said Ira Striejewske, a Cornell Avenue resident who lives near the McCreas. "Here's this little one who had her whole life ahead of her."

Striejewske, a 55-year veteran of the Eggertsville Hose Company, responded to the tragic March 31, 1954, fire at Cleveland Hill Elementary School that claimed the lives of 15 sixth-graders.

Tuesday, he drove the rescue truck to the scene. Two younger firefighters attended to Collett before she was rushed to the hospital.

"I can appreciate it hitting the younger fellows especially hard if they have young babies . . .," Striejewske said.

News Staff Reporter T.J. Pignataro contributed to this report.

e-mail: mbecker@buffnews.com

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