A mother from Houston is being accused of running over and killing her 3-year-old son after the little boy attempted to run away from her SUV, local station ABC 13 reports.
26-year-old Lexus Stagg has been charged with criminally negligent homicide after what is being described as a game of “Chicken” between her and the boy. Security footage from June 11 appears to show the woman drive forward toward her three young children as they try to run away from her SUV.
According to police, Stagg claims she did not see her 3-year-old, who “ran behind her vehicle as she backed out of her parking spot.” Investigators originally deemed the tragic incident an “unfortunate accident” after she told them she hit what she believed was a speed bump.
Security footage shot near the scene, on the other hand, shows the mother reversing back as her three young children run after her car. Footage then shows the driver pull forward as the children attempt to run out of the way of the vehicle.
Police say the other two children managed to flee, however the youngest child, Renfro, was hit before being run over twice. The toddler was rushed to a hospital where he later died.
“Every parent has an obligation to protect their children, even from themselves,” District Attorney Kim Ogg said. “Cars aren't toys and playing chicken with your kids isn't a game.”
“You should be playing Peek-A-Boo with a 3-year-old instead of forcing him to try and dodge a 5,600 pound deadly weapon,” Sean Teare, chief of the Vehicular Crimes Division, said, according to NBC News after the incident. “She was in her car and her children were playing in front of her in the parking lot. She put her car into reverse, and drove at least 100 feet.
“The three kids followed her, followed the car, at which point, the defendant put her car into drive and drove toward her children as they were running toward her,” he continued. “The two older children were able to get out of the way, and tragically, the younger child was not and was run over by two of her tires.”
Stagg’s other two children have reportedly been placed into the custody of relatives.
Neighbor Walter Turcios saw the incident on June 11. He says while it’s unfortunate, he’s not surprised considering the family’s history.
"I felt bad, because those parents, they were never there, they were kind of negligent,” he told ABC 13. “[The kids were] always out here without supervision.”
Lexus Stagg faces up to 10 years in jail if convicted. Her bail is set at $1,500.
Photo: Houston Police Department