Girl remembered a year later after heroically saving child from runaway vehicle

LAKESIDE (KUSI) — One year ago, a 10-year-old girl from Lakeside became a community hero after saving the life of a 2-year-old girl who was in the path of an SUV rolling down a driveway.

Kiera Larson was playing in her front yard with 2-year-old Emmah Gusich in the 13400 block of Highway 8 Business shortly after 5 p.m. on Feb. 22, 2016 when a parked 1999 Mercedes-Benz began rolling in reverse down a sloping driveway, likely because another child had inadvertently shifted its transmission out of gear.

Kiera ran behind the vehicle and pushed the toddler out of the way before being run over, according to the California Highway Patrol. Paramedics took her to Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Later that year, Kiera was honored with the Carnegie medal for her heroism, along with 21 others. 

According to the San Diego Union Tribune, Emmah’s mother said she would forever be grateful for Kiera’s selfless act.

“I will always wonder what I did to deserve someone like Kiera,” Alyssa Gusich said. “She’s a hero. She will forever be Emmah’s guardian angel.”

Cherise Larsen, Kiera’s stepmother, told the UT that she was inside their home when she heard Kiera shouting that the car was moving. Cherise managed to stop the vehicle, while Kiera heroically pushed young Emmah out of the way.

“I don’t think you ever really move on from losing a child,” she said, “It doesn’t matter how they pass. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be. Our family, thank God, has had so much support.”

Categories: Local San Diego News