Child killed by car after Erwin Christmas parade
Posted December 6, 2011
Updated December 7, 2011
Erwin, N.C. — One day ago, a 3-year-old Erwin boy was basking in the lights of the town's annual Christmas parade.
Cullen Reese Parker, who was known by the nickname "Boo," was wearing the new Carhartt pants his mom made him wear and a blue shirt with the words, "Let It Snow."
After the parade, the toddler, his parents, 10-year-old brother and family friends were walking through a parking lot on their way to dinner when he was hit by a car trying to exit. Authorities said Laura Turner, 21, of Edwin, behind the wheel didn't see the boy. She was leaving her job at the end of the day and driving through the parking lot.
Erica Parker turned around to see Cullen lying on the ground. Not knowing how badly he was hurt, Parker started to feel bad for her son since he had hoped to play basketball this year.
"Bless his heart. He's not going to play in his first game. We're going to have to take him to the hospital, patch him up. He's going to miss his first game or something," she said Tuesday.
She soon noticed that Cullen wasn't moving or crying. He screamed only after his parents and a family friend named Brian tried to move him.
"We kept trying to talk with him. Brian kept trying to talk with him, (saying) 'Stay with me, Buddy. Stay with me,'" Parker said, sobbing. "'And he kept saying 'Mama, Mama.' Then, I just held him in my arms."
Parker said she told Cullen she loved him. Then, the little boy was taken to Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital, where he died.
The Parkers still have presents for Cullen under their Christmas tree, where a "Baby's First Christmas" ornament hangs. Cullen would have turned 4 years old next week.
The incident is under investigation. No charges have been filed. Authorities said Turner is distraught over what happened.