My sister-in-law emailed me with this sad news. Apparently, Chapman's teenage son was driving their SUV down the driveway and didn't see Maria, the youngest child, while she was playing and he struck her with the vehicle. How tragic. Now this young man will have to live with this for the rest of his life.
Steven Curtis Chapman's youngest child died Wednesday evening after being struck by a car driven by her teenage brother in the driveway of the family's Williamson County home.
Maria, one of the Christian singer's six children, was taken by LifeFlight to Vanderbilt Hospital, which confirmed the death, according to Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
The 5-year-old was hit by an SUV driven by her teenage brother, she said. Police did not give the driver's name.
The teen was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser down the driveway of the rural home at about 5:30 p.m. and several children were playing in the area, McPherson said. He did not see Maria in the driveway before the vehicle struck her, she said.
"It appears to be a terrible accident," McPherson said.
No charges are expected, she said. The accident was witnessed by two other children; the entire family was home at the time, McPherson said.
The tragedy was announced during Wednesday-night services at Harpeth Hills Church of Christ, which the family attends. Maria had just graduated from the church preschool.
And word spread throughout the tight-knit Christian music community on Wednesday evening.
[John] Styll [president of the Nashville-based Gospel Music Association] got the news not long after Maria's death.
"I'm confident I can speak for everyone in the community to say we will do everything we can to support this family, as we would do at any time, but especially at a time like this," he said.
Most of the Chapman family was at Vanderbilt children's hospital after the accident and could not be contacted. The long, gravel driveway leading to the home west of Franklin was blocked off by Williamson County sheriff's deputies.
I know this was a tragic accident, but I can't help but think about the fact that it was the teenage son driving the SUV. Some of you may be upset with me for bringing this up, but teenagers don't have the best judgment as drivers, and driving an SUV is no small task because of all the blind spots. I drive a Dodge Durango and it's very, very important that when I pull out of anywhere or when I'm in small spaces like parking lots that I constantly check all over to make sure no one is anywhere near me. A less experienced driver may be more apt to pull out too quickly or drive without a heightened sense of awareness due to all the blind spots.
There's a very good possibility that the Chapmans taught their son all this, so I don't want to immediately point a finger at the teenager. He's going to spend the rest of his life dealing with the fact that he was the one who struck her. However, this is a very important lesson to teach our kids when they reach driving age.