Nineteen month-old Raymond, a toddler in foster care with the Owen family, died from injuries sustained on Friday when Heath Claburn, a family friend, accidentally ran over Raymond with his truck. Dale Owen, Raymond’s foster father, says that he prays for Heath Claburn because Heath is devastated by this tragedy. Tyson Owen, Raymond’s young foster brother, was overwhelmed with tears when he was asked about Raymond by Meredith Saldana. During Ms. Saldana’s interview with the Owen family, Dale Owen fondly recalled that Raymond would play for hours with a toy tractor that Heath Claburn had given him.   

On Friday, the family was together at the pond, enjoying the outdoors. Raymond and his foster brothers had been at the pond swimming for about an hour and one half when the accident took place. Dale Owens said Raymond was at his side and the accident happened so fast, “within seconds”. 

The Owen family has provided foster care for a decade, providing a home for over 50 foster children. They have three adopted children presently. 

Back-over injuries refer to injuries sustained by a child when a vehicle strikes or runs over a child while in reverse motion. Run-over injuries occur when a child is struck by a vehicle in forward motion. A majority of child victims are male. The younger the child, the more likely the child is to sustain injury to the head, face and neck. The older the child, the more likely the child is to sustain injury to the legs. The degree of severity level in internal injury and fracture statistically decreases with the increased age of the victim. Children that are pedestrians are at six time’s greater risk of being a victim in back-over accidents than children riding tricycles or bicycles. The majority of back-over accidents generally occur at home in a driveway. The locations with second highest risk for back-over accidents are parking lots. The CDC reports that fifty percent of child fatalities related to back-over accidents occurred at home in the driveway. Toddlers may be hit and killed in their own home environments because they are too small to be seen by a driver that is backing up a vehicle. These types of accidents generally involve a family member, family friend or neighbor.  

Christopher Keane
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California Child Abuse and Child Injury Lawyer
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