Deerfield Beach, Florida – A woman was dragged from her vehicle, and attacked, after her SUV struck and killed a little boy on Sunday.
The driver, Mirlande Mardice, told police she didn’t realize she’d run over a child.
Police were called to the neighborhood after the 53-year-old woman hit and killed 22-month-old Neallie Junior Saxon III at about 4:30 pm, according to the Broward County Sheriff’s Office.
Saxon was playing ball with several other children, when the ball rolled out of the yard, and several children chased it into the street.
There was no adult supervision, witnesses said.
Mardice was traveling within the speed limit, in a 2007 four-door Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, when she struck Saxon, the sheriff’s office said.
Police said Mardice was not aware she hit Saxon, and kept driving.
He was shorter than the bumper, and the driver — possibly distracted by the other children — probably couldn’t see him, Broward Sheriff’s spokeswoman Gina Carter said.
Witnesses told detectives that the children often played outside without adult supervision.
Mardice said that when she stopped at a nearby stop sign, several people dragged her out of the car and beat her.
“They beat her unmercifully,” witness Anthony Clay told WPLG.
Mardice was left with a broken nose and fractured eye socket.
She has not been charged at this time. Police are actively seeking her attackers.
Bystanders may have thought the driver was attempting to flee.
“She would have left. She had no intentions of stopping,” said Caroline Chery, Saxon’s grandmother, according to The Sun-Sentinel.
Witnesses said the crowd was hysterical, and that Saxon’s aunt passed out in the street.
“Can you imagine how you would feel knowing you killed somebody’s child and then to get beat up after that?” said Jannette Martin, a neighbor who saw the aftermath of the beating.
“But you can understand the fact that the mother is hurting… As far as the beating and everything, I think people were reacting and wanted to grab anyone they could. It was an emotional thing. It was very painful,” Martin said.