LEHI — A 5-year-old American Fork girl was hit and killed Thursday after darting into a parking lot moments after her mother picked her up from preschool.
About noon Thursday, the mother picked up her daughter at Mountainland Head Start, 176 S. 500 West in Lehi, and was walking to her car with one of the girl's sisters when the 5-year-old got ahead of her and darted into the parking lot, said Lehi Fire Chief Jeremy Craft. That's when she was hit by a pickup truck.
The girl was taken to Mountain Point Medical Center in Lehi, where she was pronounced dead. A family spokesman identified her as Stella Ferrazzano.
Stella was hit in a roundabout portion of the lot, and investigators estimated the pickup was traveling less than 10 mph, Craft said. The woman driving the pickup truck was picking up a kindergarten student at Meadow Elementary. The school and preschool are in the same building.
Timothy Lawson, a family friend and spokesman for Stella's parents, said the family is understandably distraught. Stella was the second of three children in her family, all of them girls.
"They had a family prayer and they were just trying to brace themselves," Lawson said, adding that the girl's mother "saw the whole thing happen" and is traumatized.
"She’s going to have a really hard time dealing with that. I would consider it the ultimate pain that she could ever suffer," he said.
Craft doesn’t believe police will cite the driver. "It just looks like an accident, to be honest with you," he said. "Speed doesn't look like it was an issue."
Craft was unsure Thursday whether Mountainland Head Start was planning to provide grief counselors to students. He said counseling will be available to emergency responders, adding, "This was a bad one."
"To watch a child die is extremely hard for them and as a fire department (we) have measures to help (our) people cope with those incidents," Craft said. "We’ll bring professionals in and have them talk to them."
Lawson said Stella and her sisters look up to him as a grandfather figure. Like a lot of 5-year-olds, she didn't like vegetables, and he would have to convince her to eat them when she came to his house. The two of them also played the piano together.
"We’d sit (at the piano) for what seemed like hours," he said.
Lawson described Stella as a thoughtful and smart child who loved people unconditionally.
"She wasn’t running around yelling and screaming and boisterous, she was more introspective. She was a very calm child and she thought about things," he said. "She saw things her way."
Contributing: Pat Reavy
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