Man in SUV backs up, kills his young child in southwest Denver driveway

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DENVER -- A family is coping with a horrible tragedy after their 2-year-old son was killed when the father accidentally backed over him with an SUV on Wednesday.

Police say the child's father was backing up his SUV when the child ran behind it and was accidentally hit in the driveway near South Utica Street and West Harvard Avenue.

The Denver Office of the Medical Examiner on Thursday identified the boy as Justin Thai, 2. It said the boy died of blunt force trauma.

Police tape blocked off the area for several hours until they wrapped up their investigation. Investigators ruled it an accident and it doesn't appear the father will be charged.

Like many in the neighborhood, one woman says her heart goes out to the boy's family.

"Just concerned about the family," Josephine Gomez said. "Losing the baby has to be really hard."

"He was so full of life," said Kim White, the victim's grandmother. "I used to call him my little lumberjack."

White and her family has gone through a similar tragedy. In November 2012, 2-year-old Bram Venn was hit and killed by a driver in the Aspen Grove shopping center. The woman behind the wheel told police she could not see the toddler.

In hopes of preventing similar tragedies, safety regulators have ordered automakers to install backup cameras in vehicles built in and after May 2018.

Each year it's estimated some 15,000 people are hurt nationwide.


  • Robert Gift

    Hope this is found to be an accident and no charges are filed.
    The poor father and everyonelse is going through enough suffering.
    Little children, especially boys, can get out of sight so quickly and not be noticed early enough.
    When I back, I walk around the vehicle looking for children and pets while also inspecting the SUV and tires.
    But even then, a child can wander behind the vehicle as the drivers gets in.
    So sorry.

    • annpirie

      If there are children around anywhere in sight, I make sure I can see the child in question before I move an inch, or even shift into reverse or drive. Usually or there should be an adult present with one that young.

  • Jean is the organization working to prevent these tragedies. Did you know that every week in the US 50 children are backed over because the driver was not able to see them? A 3 year old boy was backed over and killed by his fathers truck in Pennsylvania yesterday also. A child in the Orlando, FL area is in critical condition after being backed over in her driveway yesterday. These tragedies happen far too often. Let’s honor this little boy by raising awareness and retrofitting our vehicles with backup cameras. Sending love and prayers to this family. If you are out there, please know that also connects families with others who have been through the same tragedy for support. All you have to do is contact them and they can connect you.

    • alphaomega80537

      That’s an interesting statistic. Kids are far more likely to die from getting backed over than they are from a rifle, yet the fascists want to disarm law abiding citizens. Go figure.

  • annpirie

    This is every parent’s nightmare. The horrors of it all make me sick to contemplate. Really there is no recovery on this tragedy. No parent should ever lose a child. But, to cause the loss has to be the epitome of pain. I am deeply sorry.

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