Girl, 4, struck and killed by car driven by her mother in Manatee

A 4-year-old girl was fatally injured about 12:20 p.m. Thursday when she was struck by a vehicle driven by her mother in the yard of her Samoset residence, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Daisy Martinez was taken to Blake Medical Center by EMS, according to FHP, where she was pronounced dead. Neighbors said she died soon after the incident. Daisy's mother, Gracie Moreno, 23, was driving the car, according to FHP.

“We heard the scream,” said Anita Casimir who lives several houses away from the scene. “The mom was running with her baby in her arms.”

The child’s parents traveled to the hospital, she said.

Casimir said people from surrounding neighborhoods walked over after hearing the woman scream for help.

Sam Casimir, Anita’s husband, ran down the street and attempted CPR. He described the girl’s body as “crushed.”

“It made me really sad - made me cry,” Sam Casimir said. “I have little kids, too. The last person she looked at was me.”

The Casimirs spoke with the victim’s family as they arrived at the house.

“I’ve cried since it’s happened. I have three little girls and can’t imagine this happening,” Anita Casimir said. “Two seconds and they’re gone. It’s just unbelievable.”

Anita Casimir said her children played with the little girl and her siblings.

“They are good parents,” she said.

“And good kids,” Sam Casimir said, adding the children often played in their fenced yard. A tree house is perched in a corner of the property.

The neighbors believe the car’s accelerator got stuck, causing the accident. The front of the small tan car was resting against a chainlink fence and utility pole at the front of the property. The front door was ajar as investigators photographed the scene.

Because the investigation is ongoing, FHP has not released a cause for the incident. FHP Sgt. William Pascoe said no one has been charged in the case.

Elizabeth Johnson, Herald crime reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. Follow her on Twitter @EJohnsonBHcrime.