Kiera Larsen's life was tragically cut short on Monday when she was hit by a runaway SUV while playing outside in her hometown of Lakeside, California. Larsen, 10, pushed her young friends Emmah and Addison Jenkins out of the vehicle's path before it fatally struck her.
It is unclear how the vehicle, which was owned by Kiera's stepmother, was set in motion when it rolled backwards down a sloping driveway, according to the California Highway Patrol. "No one was driving," CHP Officer Kevin Pearlstein told ABC News today. The SUV was going about 10 miles per hour, Pearlstein said, and that it picked up momentum as it rolled down the driveway.
Larsen was transported to Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, California, but succumbed to her injuries as a result of being struck by the vehicle, a CHP press statement said.
Alyssa Jenkins, the mother of the two girls Larsen saved, told ABC News that her daughters were playing in the path of the moving vehicle when Larsen and her brother quickly moved them out of the way.
"[Kiera] is extremely brave and selfless," Jenkins said. "She is truly our hero and guardian angel. She will never be forgotten and we will never loose the love for her."
Jenkins described Larsen's personality as "bright, smart, and amazing," adding that she could "light up anyone's world."
The Larsen family has created a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of funeral expenses. The family wrote on the site, "Those of you who had the pleasure of knowing Kiera know that she is such an amazing, beautiful, smart and funny little girl. She truly brings so much love and happiness to so many people."