PITTSBURG -- A 2-year-old girl hit by an SUV earlier this week when she ran into the road after a bouncing ball died of her injuries Thursday night at Children's Hospital Oakland, officials said.
Ameeya McDonald was hit by a white Range Rover in the 100 block of Jimno Avenue on Monday after she ran into the street about 6:05 p.m., Pittsburg police Lt. Ron Raman said. The little girl was playing with several other young children in front of the Pittsburg home.
Ameeya's mother, Danee Lumbre, said she had dropped the girl off the previous week to be with her father, who had accompanied the toddler to the Pittsburg home Monday. A relative called Lumbre to tell her what had happened.
"All I could make out was her crying and saying I needed to go to the hospital, and my initial thought was that she was calling to say something had happened to her father," Lumbre said. "As I was grabbing my shoes, she said Ameeya had been hit. It was pretty foggy after that."
Ameeya was in intensive care for three days before she died at 6:39 p.m. Thursday, Lumbre said Friday. She would have been 3 years old on Dec. 21.
Lumbre said Ameeya's favorite activities included walking her beloved pet Chihuahua and riding her bike in the park. She also loved to sing and planned to start ballet classes when she turned 3.
"She was just so smart at such an early age, and very alert. If you would have spent 10 minutes with her, you would have seen something very special," Lumbre said. "She loved music. Oh my God, my baby loved music. And she was so kind to everybody. She would walk past strangers to say hi, and if they didn't answer, she'd say it again and wave really big so everyone saw her."
Lumbre said Ameeya had been told from an early age to stay away from the street and didn't believe she ever would have run into the road if it weren't for the distraction of an errant ball.
"Both her father and I always made it a point to let her know it was dangerous to be in the middle of the street," Lumbre said. "We were always keeping an eye on her and saying, 'Don't go in the middle of the street; you could get hurt, you could get an owie!' And for the most part, she would listen. She was just playing, and it was an accident."
The toddler was hit less than 12 hours after an SUV hit and killed 12-year-old Burgess Hu in the eastern Contra Costa County town of Byron.
In both instances, the drivers of the SUVs said they did not see the children. Neither driver has been charged with any wrongdoing.
The driver who struck Ameeya has been cooperative with the police investigation and got out of his car to render first aid as soon as he saw what happened, Raman said. He also said that there were witness reports of a group of people beating the man when he got out of his SUV. Tensions were running very high in front of the Pittsburg home, but they de-escalated quickly, he said.
"There was an altercation, but I think it was more based on emotion than anything else," Raman said. "The family was obviously very emotional. It was such a tragic accident."
Two fundraising campaigns to help with the girl's medical costs raised $5,885 from 145 contributors. Lumbre expressed gratitude to the members of the community for showing the same kind of compassion she had come to know from her own little "Princess."
"If she saw you crying, she would wipe your tears and say, 'Don't cry, it will be much better,' Lumbre said through her own tears. "She was just very compassionate to be that young -- that's how we're going to remember her. So smart, compassionate and beautiful."
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