A 2-year-old boy died after his father accidentally hit him with his truck while backing out of the family’s driveway on Monday in Northern Virginia. The toddler's parents spoke with Telemundo 44 after the tragedy.
Bayron Alexander Zapata, known as Alex, was hit outside his home on Roma Street in Fairfax. He would have turned 3 in October.
Zapata was a happy child who loved superheroes, his parents said Tuesday alongside a memorial to him. Bouquets, candles, balloons and toys were set up outside their home.
The accident happened fast, the toddler’s parents said through sobs. His father, Byrol Zapata, was working on his 2005 Ford F-350 on Monday evening and was ready to back it out of their driveway.
"I put him inside and told him to stay inside, and he said, 'OK, Daddy.’ But I didn't realize when he came out again,” the father said in Spanish as he cried. “When the truck accident happened it was too late.”
The toddler’s 4-year-old sister saw the accident, their mother, Kelly Castillo, said.
Fairfax County police arrived at about 6:45 p.m. and found Zapata with serious injuries. First responders declared the child dead. An investigation is underway.
A day earlier, the family spent the day together on a river. Zapata brought them joy.
“He was always happy,” his aunt Iris Zapata said. “When we were around him, he would say, ’Why are you serious? I came to play with you all.’”
Amid unimaginable pain, the Zapatas had a message for others.
"Please take care of your children," the toddler’s father said.
- Use rearview cameras and sensors on your vehicle
- Keep home doors locked and install locks at the top of doors that children cannot reach
- Make sure children are supervised whenever anyone arrives at or leaves the home
- Walk around your vehicle before driving. If you see or hear children, make sure they are being supervised by an adult
- Never let young children walk in parking lots
- Roll down your window when backing up so you can hear any warning to stop.
The Zapata family is fundraising for the toddler’s funeral.