MARION, Summit County — A small community in Summit County is grieving after a 2-year-old girl was struck by a car and killed as her family was leaving a birthday celebration.
The tragic crash happened Saturday night in the small community of Marion, which is just north of Kamas in Summit County.
Marie Johnson darted out in front of a car as the family was leaving a home after a birthday celebration.
“We are really saddened by the fact that she’s gone,” said an emotional Ardine Caldwell.
Caldwell is Marie’s great grandmother, and the family had gathered to celebrate her 81st birthday.
Caldwell placed some purple flowers on her mailbox by where it happened and said, “This was her color. She was a purple girl.”
Caldwell and her husband Art said they were in the home saying their goodbyes to everyone when they suddenly heard screams to call 911.
Marie ended up at Primary Children’s Hospital, where she passed away on Sunday.
The family said it holds no hard feelings against the driver of the car, a young man in his early 20s. Police said he just couldn’t stop in time.
“We hold nothing against them; my grandson, he went over to the boy that was driving the car and put his arm around him and told him, he says, ‘you know it wasn’t your fault, it was just an unfortunate accident,’” Art Caldwell said.
He was the last person to hold Marie before the accident.
“I picked her up, put her in my lap, brushed her hair back and rubbed her nose, gave her an Eskimo kiss,” he said. “We are sorry, our heart aches. We know we will miss many years watching her grow up, yet we know she’s in a good, safe place with her Savior.”
She was a light. She was a very caring child.
“She was a light, she was a very caring child,” said Marie’s aunt Echo Johnson to KSL. “She always shared, just a happy child.”
Johnson said Marie’s final act of giving was to donate her organs to help others survive through the help of the organization Donor Connect.
A GoFundMe account has been set up* to help the family with hospital and funeral expenses.
*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisers and otherwise proceed at your own risk.