QUEEN CREEK - The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office said it will be turning over to prosecutors its findings after a father accidentally backed over his child on Sunday.
“It appears that the father was backing up and accidentally ran over his son. He called 911,” said Mike Minter, a Pinal County Sheriff’s spokesman. “It’s a horrible thing.”
The father of two sons and a daughter told deputies that he was washing his Ford Expedition and told his sons to go inside, according to reports.
After he saw his sons inside the house, he put his SUV into reverse and began to back it toward the garage. However, Zaylen Jenkins, 22 months, was struck in the driveway, Minter said.
“We don’t know if the little boy never went inside the house, or if he came back out,” Minter said.
The father, who was not identified by Pinal County authorities, picked the child up and brought him into the house, called 911 and sent his daughter to a neighbor’s house for help, Minter said.
A neighbor rushed over and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until Rural/Metro firefighters arrived on scene.
The child was pronounced dead a few moments later.
“There’s a lot of hurt right now. Dad is feeling horrible. Mom is hanging in there,” said the Rev. Larry Fontana of New Life Ministries, a volunteer and member of the Pinal County Sheriff’s victims’ assistance unit. “It’s a son running after his dad. It’s a natural thing.”.
“It’s just sad. Anyone with children, I can’t feel what the family’s feeling. All I can do is support them,” neighbor Johnny Rodgers said.
According to Rodgers, the family has only lived in the neighborhood for about three months. The SUV had a California license plate.
The Pima County Medical Examiner’s Office will perform an autopsy on the boy’s body, as required by state law, and a report on his death will be sent to the Pinal County Attorney’s Office for review, Minter said.