‘Little darling’: Tributes flow after childcare tragedy
The tragic death of a Broadmeadows three-year-old named Charlotte in an incident outside an Epping childcare centre yesterday afternoon has left family and friends reeling.
A GoFundMe donation page has been started to help support the family following the "tragic passing of (our) beautiful darling".
Family friend Hannah set up the page on behalf of Charlotte's father, Adam Smithers, and hopes the contributions will aid the family during their time of grief.
"Yesterday afternoon my very close friend's daughter was tragically run over by the car she was getting into and died on impact, it was a tragic accident," the page reads.
"I'm raising this money to help both parents be able to give there (sic) baby girl the send off she deserves the beautiful princess that she was, and to allow the father have time off work to grieve!," she wrote.
"RIP beautiful girl, forever in our hearts!
"Any donation big or small will be appreciated."
There was no driver was at the wheel of the car when it struck and killed young Charlotte, police have revealed.
The tragedy unfolded in the carpark of Kiddy Palace childcare centre in Epping last night.
Police believe a 26-year-old Broadmeadows woman was attending to one of three other children in the back seat when the vehicle began to move backwards about 4.45pm.
Both the woman and child were struck as the vehicle reversed into them.
A police spokesman said: "Sadly, the Broadmeadows girl died at the scene and the woman was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries".
Police confirmed the woman and four children were set to travel in the same car, but would not confirm if they were related.
No one has been charged over the death.
Police will prepare a report for the coroner and an investigation will continue to determine what caused the vehicle to reverse.
A family that lives next door to the childcare centre has told of the horrifying incident.
Carrie Hartley and her 10-year-old daughter, Amber Hartley-Schofield, spoke to the Herald Sun as they dropped off flowers and a toy at the childcare centre this morning.
"We heard something. It was really weird. I don't know if it was a car rolling, it was something then we heard screaming," Ms Hartley said.
"We jumped up and had a look over and there were just people everywhere. It was just chaos. It's very sad."
Amber said she wanted to leave a toy as a tribute.
"Just the thought of someone dying but then not having anything to remember them by is just really sad," she said.
"If that happened to anyone in my family I would be heartbroken."
Distraught staff members gathered at the front of the childcare centre about noon and shed tears as they placed a balloon unicorn alongside the flowers and toys.
The workers hugged each other and sat down on the footpath during the silent tribute.
They said it was too early to talk about the tragic death.
Several neighbours were earlier crying as they walked past the centre and added to the collection of flowers.
The McDonalds Rd childcare centre was roped off by police.
Flowers and a toy were placed at the front of the building, while an SES tent covered the spot where the child died.
Detective sergeant Daryll Out issued a warning in the wake of the "terrible incident" for anyone driving around children to be extremely cautious.
"The incident occurred when a car accidentally struck the young girl," he said.
"Police are obviously investigating the circumstances of that incident, and as it only occurred recently we're not in position to give any further details in relation to how the collision occurred.
"We certainly urge anybody who's around children to be very careful and mindful that terrible accidents such as these can occur if everyone is not paying full attention to what they're doing."