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‘She was perfect’: Heartbroken mom mourning loss of 23-month-old killed by SUV in Palmetto

Manatee County

PALMETTO, Fla. (WFLA) – A Palmetto family is trying to help a mother cope with her grief after the sudden loss of her young daughter.

Ariyah Phillips died Friday morning after she was hit by an SUV in Palmetto.

“She was an angel,” Khadejah Phillips said of her daughter. “Her laugh, her smile, her everything. Just everything was just amazing. She was perfect.”

Ariyah would have celebrated her second birthday next month.

“Her birthday is coming up,” her mom said. “Her birthday is March 21.”

Khadejah Phillips’ mother called to tell her what happened Friday morning on 69th Street East.

“I had to come here and really see it for myself,” Phillips said. “I didn’t (want to believe it.)”

Troopers say the young girl was playing in her front yard and, for some reason, stepped out in front of the vehicle. The driver of the SUV had no time to stop, the FHP says.

“(When) a small child darts out in front of you, it’s almost impossible to stop a vehicle in time,” Trooper Kenn Watson said.

The driver stayed at the scene and is not expected to face charges.

“I know for a fact that everything was just an accident,” Phillips said. “It’s hard and it’s tough. But I’ve always been Supermom to her and I’ll always be Supermom to her.”

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