A toddler in South Carolina has died after being hit by a car during a family outing to a park during Father’s Day weekend.
The Oconee County Coroner’s Office said on Sunday morning the 19-month-old boy who died the day before in Devils Fork State Park in South Carolina was Benny Esquivel, from Asheville, North Carolina.
According to North Carolina news outlet ABC13, the coroner said family members had been with the toddler as they were walking towards the parking lot at Lake Jocassee when Benny ran off. The child then ran between two vehicles and was hit by a car. Emergency 911 operators were alerted at around 1:49 p.m.
According to the Oconee County coroner, Esquivel was pronounced dead at the scene at about 2:20 p.m.
South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers said a 2011 Jeep Wrangler had been traveling northbound on private property, according to ABC13.
Benny had been running on private property when he was struck by the SUV. The driver and the occupants inside the vehicle were uninjured in the crash.
The coroner added the child would have celebrated his second birthday in October. Police have not shared whether any charges will be filed in connection with the incident.
South Carolina government statistics showed there were 1,066 traffic fatalities across the state in 2020. It added that this was an increase from 1,006 in 2019.
According to figures seen by Newsweek, 2020 had one of the highest traffic death tolls in South Carolina since 1981. The highest total in a single year since then was in 2005 with 1,093 traffic fatalities.
It added that one child under 8 was either seriously injured or killed every 7.2 days in South Carolina in 2020.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 3,816 children aged between 1 and 4 died in the U.S. in 2021. This figure covers children who died in accidents, through congenital malformations, deformations or chromosomal abnormalities and due to assault or homicide.
It added the leading cause of death among children in that age group were accidents and unintentional injuries.
According to the CDC, 1,299 children aged between 1 and 4 died in accidents and due to unintentional injuries in 2021.
There have been numerous incidents across the U.S. where young children have died after being struck by a vehicle while their family was present.
In May, a 3-year-old boy in California died after he was hit by a car on his way to a birthday celebration.
Josiah Caleb Toleafoa was taken by his mother to a children’s play venue in the San Diego area to celebrate his birthday.
His aunt, Tatiana Toleafoa, said in a GoFundMe post: “His mother was taking him to play at the Play City to celebrate his 3rd birthday when he was tragically struck by a car.
“He was taken to Rady’s Children’s Hospital in Kearny Mesa, CA, where they were unable to bring him back.”