Toddler fatally struck by family friend in Fort Lauderdale

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Devastated loved ones are mourning the loss of a 3-year-old girl, hours after, police said, she was run over by a family friend in her driveway, Saturday afternoon.

According to Fort Lauderdale Police, Memanush Acamillis was hit in front of her home, located in the area of Northwest 14th Court and 23rd Avenue in Fort Lauderdale, just after 2 p.m. Detectives said Puterson Despinasse struck the girl as he was pulling out of the driveway in his white 2000 Chevy Silverado while she was running next to it.

Despinasse told 7News he felt he’d hit something with his vehicle. “I don’t hear nothing, then I feel something at the time, and then I stop and I see her,” he said.

Paramedics rushed Memanush to Chris Evert Children’s Hospital in critical condition, but she did not survive.

7News cameras captured family and friends comforting each other outside the child’s residence, Saturday evening. “Oh, God, I can’t stand it,” said neighbor Tina Johnson. “They just told me a 3-year-old just died. I thought, ‘Oh, no.'”

Despinasse said he and Memanush, whom he considered family, had spent the afternoon together.

Beyond that, however, he was at a loss for words. “I feel, I don’t know, very bad,” he said. “I don’t know what to say.”

Despinasse lives inside the home with Memanush’s mother, a pastor who is also his co-worker. He went on to say he doesn’t know how he’s going to live with the knowledge the 3-year-old will never return home.

Area resident Nate Johnson said the tragedy underscores how important it is for motorists to observe caution behind the wheel. “I take it easy going through here, in any neighborhood,” he said. “You never know.”

Police are investigating the crash. Despinasse said he already spoke with detectives.

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