The life of a 5-year-old Florida girl was tragically cut short after she was accidentally run over by her father with a tractor trailer, according to NBC 2. Saturday afternoon (July 9), Scarlett Sponseller of Naples and her father, Andrew, hopped onto his backhoe tractor trailer as they did many times before — something relatives say was one of the little girl’s favorite thing to do — to move debris at their home in the 2100 block of Southwest Sixteenth Avenue.
The father stated that he sat his daughter on the “inside of the fender well on his left side,” and began backing up, “looking over his right shoulder.” However, things went awry when the father turned back around and noticed his daughter was no longer sitting in the tractor trailer.
— WINK News (@winknews) July 12, 2016
Andrew immediately got out of the tractor trailer to see what happened to little Scarlett, and that’s when he saw his precious daughter lying on the ground.
Sources say that when the 5-year-old fell from the tractor trailer, her father accidentally ran over her. She was reportedly crushed to the death by the back tire.
It was not immediately clear if the father felt the impact as he accidentally ran his daughter over with the tractor trailer, but when emergency services arrived at the scene, there was nothing they could do to revive the child. Scarlett was pronounced dead at the scene.
After the incident, neighbor Dustin Broxson stated that he realized something was wrong when he “saw authorities swarm the home.” He went on to say that he “saw a gentleman come out the front gate to meet with the ambulance and the fire truck as all the other vehicles were getting there, and traffic was stopped.”
“I knew something had to be wrong for that many people to show up.”
Just shortly after the chaos, Broxson learned that the 5-year-old living across the street from him was accidentally killed by her father, which left an entire community in shock, according to the Naples News.
However, Broxson added that they are “here as a community. A lot of people have lived here for a long time, and we’re here to support them if they’re willing to reach out.”
Another neighbor, Frank Reaves, who later learned about the incident, stated that he “can’t imagine how they feel” after losing a child in such a way.
Following the child’s tragic accident, several social media users left messages on the child’s guest book at Legacy, expressing their condolences.
Linda Ford wrote, “No words can heal your broken hearts. My deepest sympathy and heartfelt prayers.”
“When I see the most beautiful purple and pink sunset or eat really delicious pancakes or hear a funny song like “X marks the spot” or notice an extra bright star in the evening sky,” Cathy Walsh wrote. “I will think of Scarlett. Always a joy to spend time with her and her “Po-Po” and see the easy comfortable love between them. Victoria and Andrew, please add my voice to the chorus of prayers during this unbearable time.”
Although the father, who reportedly ran over his daughter with a tractor trailer, have stated that the incident was nothing more than a tragic accident, the Collier County Sheriff office is currently investigating the death of Scarlett Sponseller.
Father ran over his own 5-year-old daughter with tractor. I can’t begin to think what he’s going through. https://t.co/JVWckqcpUR
— Ryan Mills (@NDN_RMills) July 11, 2016
The Department of Children and Families is also investigating the child’s death, who has “never been involved with the family before,” according to a report.
Reporters reached out to the family of the child who was accidentally run over by a tractor trailer, but they were unavailable for comment.
A private family service was later held for the child, which was arranged by the Hodges Funeral Home at Naples Memorial Gardens.
[Photo by Larry W. Smith/Getty Images]