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Couple hopes to save others from daughter's fate

Posted December 6, 2010

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— A couple still dealing with the loss of their daughter last month is trying to prevent other children from the same fate.

Eighteen-month old Chyler Nicole Huebner died after being hit by an SUV driven by her father in the driveway of their Lassiter Mill Road home on Nov. 12.

"Everything happened in a split second," the girl's mother, Nikki Huebner, said Monday. 

John Huebner was backing up his truck to a trailer at about 5 mph when he struck Chyler. He said he didn't realize Chyler had followed him outside until he hit her. 

"I wake up with nightmares just about every night replaying everything," he said. 

Chyler died a day after the accident.

The couple believes the child would still be alive if they had a rearview camera, like the one they have in their new Land Rover.

"Had we had cameras, I would have seen her staring right at me, but (I) just never saw her," John Huebner said. 

On Friday, the federal government proposed rules that would require rearview cameras to be installed in all cars and trucks by 2014. The Huebners said they are on a mission to make sure that happens. 

"The accident itself is just happening way too often," Nikkie Huebner said. 

Raleigh couple remembers child killed in accident Raleigh couple remembers child killed in accident

Nearly 300 people are killed and 18,000 injured each year because of back-overs, according to data kept by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Nearly half of the deaths involve children under age 5, and the crashes also affect the elderly.

Many of the deaths involve busy parents juggling careers and children and toddlers who get behind a parked car, not realizing the inherent dangers. In about 70 percent of the cases, a family member is responsible for the death, said Janette Fennell, president of Kids and Cars, a Kansas-based safety group.

The government estimated that video systems would add about $200 to the cost of each new vehicle. The U.S. Department of Transportation estimates the new requirements could save up to 112 lives every year and prevent more than 7,000 injuries annually.

"The biggest thing that we want out is that this can happen to anyone," Nikki Huebner said. 

On Thursday, WakeMed's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit's family room will be dedicated in Chyler's honor. 

The family room at the North Carolina Children's Hospital at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will be dedicated in Chyler's honor on May 10.

The Huebners raised $100,000 to support the family rooms, which are operated by Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Carolina.

The Huebners said they are planning a charity 5K run to help raise money to keep the family rooms operating. They said the rooms cost about $50,000 a year. 

60 Comments

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  • WritNEWlaws Dec 8, 2:37 p.m.

    I agree with WXYZ- If you are a parent you have to be ten steps ahead of small children. I guess the one way of dealing with grief is to look at an "object" that could have been installed and possibly have prevented the accident. There is no real proof that a camera is going to show everything. My heart goes out to this family and especially the child. I know everyone is busy but stop and take time to make sure your child is safe inside before you go outside or anywhere else.

  • kevingreene70 Dec 8, 11:14 a.m.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to the family.as sad as this tragedy is you simply can't regulate away accidents.however the technology for rear proximity alarms have been around for years and really a cheap alternative.its basically a more advanced motion detector that could be implemented along with a video system for less than $200.i think that it should be an option on all cars and trucks.but i don't believe you should be forced to buy it.but i'm sure the insurance industry will find a way to make it mandatory when it starts costing them money.just like wearing seat belts .you see they don't care so much about saving your life, as they care about the added risk of injury vs wearing a seatbelt and not wearing one.the sliding scale of plus and minuses that determine the cost differences of paying to fix you.no matter what their commercial says about caring for you and your family.its the bottom line that matters.

  • james27613 Dec 7, 6:54 p.m.

    sad story but accidents happen.

    Rear view camera will not help, drivers need to look and listen.

    Backup alarms may be better idea.

  • Warden Dec 7, 4:06 p.m.

    "Shame on some of you for placing money over life!" I'm sorry, lgbeddow, but I just don't think it's simple. I wish it were. Now, assuming that the cost of every vehicle would only be increased $200, this might not be as major. But I have trouble believing that car dealers won't up the price of one these vehicles to a ridiculous degree. But even now... as we speak... how many school buses have seat belts? To me, if we're going to ask the taxpayers to hand over more money to help protect the lives of children, that's a better place to aim.

  • illegals--GO HOME Dec 7, 3:34 p.m.

    WXYZ.....you can't pull "into" hooking up a trailer to a trailer hitch on the back of a vehicle. So, parking as to never have to back up is not the solution either. You have to back "into" a driveway if your plan is to "pull out" of the driveway next time.

  • fishon Dec 7, 2:23 p.m.

    Anyone know how many passenger vehicles are sold in the USA in a year? I saw around 8 million vehicles for 2007. At $1000 x 8 million you get $8 billion. Divide that by the estimated 112 lives saved, the cost per life is about $714,000. By making this mandatory government gets more tax money, from sales taxes and from property taxes like in NC.

    Note the article does not say it will save EVERY life.

    Again, you cannot legislate and protect against everything.

  • WXYZ Dec 7, 2:02 p.m.

    Would have--should have--could have...hind sight is always 20-20. Guilt is guilt--fault is fault--blame is blame...face up and admit it. Fore-sight to be prepared and not surprised, is what all adults must practice and must teach their children. Know what to expect--assess the risks--manage the risks. Going backward is always risky...no matter what vehicle you are operating---failure to know what is behind you will sooner or later teach one a lesson...the hard way. Yes, anyone who has raised children will tell you that they must remain under CONSTANT observation and control. Parental failure causes children to drown, burn, fall, get run over, get poisoned, suffocate, get struck by falling or flying objects...i.e. get injured, crippled or killed in many, many ways. Back-up video is a good idea, but why park in a way that requires backing up? Risks are reduced if one always backs into parking places--that is the law in many places.

  • lgbeddow Dec 7, 1:51 p.m.

    Tom, it must be nice being "perfect." Bravo! I thought the only perfect person was crucified. I must be mistaken, but then again, I never hold myself out to be perfect.

  • Tom Morrow Dec 7, 1:32 p.m.

    In addition, once again I contend that the majority of people who are licensed to drive should not be.

  • lgbeddow Dec 7, 1:07 p.m.

    Perhaps everyone should take a moment to recall the wise, age-old saying, "There but for the grace of God, go I." Parents are human and, as such, are never perfect. None of us are. However, we certainly can learn from our human tragedies and attempt to improve our human conditions. I applaud the Huebner family for attempting to do just this. The Huebners are attempting to bring to light a way to help protect all children. When dollars are more important than protecting our loved ones, Heaven help us all. Folks, we are talking here about approximately $200 per vehicle. Most of us pay more for our vehicle’s stereo system or tinted windows. What is the value of a human life? Shame on some of you for placing money over life!

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