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Kailua toddler who died after being backed over by SUV identified

A 17-month-old Kailua girl who died after her mother backed into her with an SUV on Friday was the third child to be fatally struck by a reversing vehicle since late 2015, Honolulu police said.

The Honolulu Medical Examiner’s office identified the girl in Friday’s incident as Leilani Steele, of Kailua.

Her death was determined to be an accident and the cause of her death was multiple blunt force injuries, the office said.

Police said the 36-year-old mother was reversing a 2007 Honda CRV when the girl stepped into the driveway. Another child was in the SUV at the time, police said. No one else was hurt.

The incident occurred at about 4:30 p.m. at the girl’s home.

Lt. Carlene Lau, of the Honolulu Police Department’s Vehicular Homicide Section, said the case was an emotionally difficult one for police to investigate and the third such case in about 16 months.

In December 2015, a 1-year-old girl was fatally struck by a woman backing out of her driveway on Noholio Road in Waianae.

In November, a 1-year-old boy was backed over by a 36-year-old man driving a Toyota 4Runner in Kapalama. The fatality occurred in the driveway of 1518 Auld Lane.

Lau said all three children were about the same age, and none of the vehicles had a rearview camera.

She said sometimes parents or caretakers do not realize how quick children can be at that age, and there should always be someone keeping an eye on them or holding their hand.

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