CLEVELAND COUNTY, N.C. - A 16-month-old girl died in what one witness called a tragic and freak accident Wednesday afternoon in Shelby.
Police said the child's grandmother took a turn at South Dekalb and Warren streets when the back door of the truck suddenly opened, the child seat slid out and the toddler hit the ground.
The accident happened outside of the garage where Micheal Strong works. He said he ran to the pickup truck when he saw the child slide out.
"It very much tears me up. I feel that this was a tragedy that this happened. And it was just something that happened and was a freak accident," Strong said.
Surveillance cameras at the business show the pickup truck approach the intersection to make the turn when the door opened and the little girl fell out. Channel 9 is not showing those final moments.
Sasha Beam was at the intersection and rushed to help the little girl and her grandmother.
"She just kept saying over and over, 'I heard her open the door. I heard her open the door.' I went over and stood over the body and called 911 and just prayed. Prayed for that sweet baby and her family," Beam said.
Police are still trying to determine why the child restraint seat came out of the truck and how the rear door opened.
Shelby police Chief Jeff Ledford also described the accident as tragic and hopes it's a reminder for every parent of a young child.
"I think this is a hard reminder of how important it is to make sure that these things are properly secured," Ledford said.
"The grandmother was definitely in shock. Who wouldn't be at that moment? She circled around with the other woman and began praying. They were all praying," Beam said.
There are no charges against the grandmother.
Ledford said once the investigation is complete, police will sit down with the district attorney.
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