Half an hour after putting her two children to bed, a Phoenix mother discovered they were gone. Frantic and fearful they had been kidnapped, she called police, who spotted her car near her apartment and tried to pull it over.
After it swerved and crashed into a pole, police discovered the driver was the woman’s 8-year-old son, and her 6-year-old daughter was a front-seat passenger.
The girl died Thursday of injuries suffered in Wednesday night’s crash, while her brother suffered an ankle injury that didn’t appear serious, police said.
Police identified the girl as Aaliyah Felder. They said her seat belt wasn’t fastened, and the air bag in front of her didn’t deploy.
Police did not release the names of the 24-year-old mother or her son.
Sgt. Steve Martos said police did not know some details about what happened, including what prompted the children to go on the drive and how they got the car keys.
Police have not spoken to the boy at length, so they don’t know why he was out driving the family car.
“There’s really no criminal element to any of it,” Martos said.