LAKESIDE, Calif. -- A 10-year-old California girl is being hailed a hero after she died saving the life of two other children.
Kiera Larsen was fatally struck by a runaway SUV as she pushed two toddlers, ages 1 and 2, out of the vehicle's way, authorities told KSWB.
Neighbors told KGTV the children were playing in the yard on Monday when the SUV started rolling. Kiera Larsen instinctively pushed the toddlers out of the SUV's path and was struck and pushed through a fence. Paramedics took Kiera to a local hospital where she later died.
Authorities did not say how the 1999 Mercedes-Benz began rolling in reverse down the dirt driveway.
“She is truly a hero. She will forever be my kids’ guardian angel,” said Alissa Jenkins, mother of one-year-old Adison and two-year-old Emma, the two girls Kiera saved. “She saved both my daughters' lives. These are my two kids that I have and both of them could’ve been gone in an instant and she stepped in and took over and did what she knows best to do -- and that’s to protect those around her.
Jenkins and her fiancé Jonathan Gusich say they will never be able to repay Kiera for her selfless act.
"She was a big sister to them. She was always looking out for them and apparently she gave her life for my kids,” Gusich said. “I don’t know how to repay them, repay her. She must have been the guardian angel yesterday and they’re here because of her.”
Police are inspecting the vehicle to find out why it happened, and to determine whether a malfunction caused the vehicle to roll.
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Kiera’s family to assist with expenses.