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Child fatally hit by car while playing in Fort Myers driveway

Posted at 9:14 PM, Nov 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-27 23:41:49-05

FORT MYERS, Fla.  — UPDATE:

"It was the worst thing I ever saw."

That's how Luis Gonzalez, brother of Julio Gonzalez, described Tuesday's deadly scene.

He did not want to speak on camera, but he shared with FOX 4 moments prior to and after the accident.

Luis says 5-year-old Samantha Castro Martinez is the daughter of his family friend.

Both his friend and his daughter were at the Gonzalez’s home off of Cypress Avenue near Ninth Avenue in Fort Myers on Tuesday night.

Samantha played in the driveway, while waiting on her father.

Luis said he sent Julio to run an errand, and it was towards the end of his trip back to the house that would forever change the lives of both families.

Samantha was playing in the driveway, when Julio drove back towards the home.

He did not see her, and hit her.

Luis says he’ll never forget the screams, and he’ll never forget what he saw.

Through tears he recalls that the accident “happened in seconds”.

Luis tells FOX 4 that family members, friends, and neighbors gathered around the child while waiting on 911.

He says more people gathered with them “on their knees…praying to Jesus”.

Samantha was transported to Lee Memorial Hospital where she died of her injuries Tuesday night.

Luis describes the girl as an “angel without wing”, and says his brother is distraught.

“There nothing anyone can say to stop the pain.”

He describes Julio as a “good man” who loves children and is “always making sure kids were safe and far away from the road”.

Luis says there’s no way to describe the grief and the guilt his family is experiencing.

“If I feel like this, if my brother feels like this, I don’t even know how her parents feel. You’re supposed to bury your kids. Not the other way around.”

Florida Highway Patrol says alcohol was not involved.

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According to an FHP report, 43-year-old Julio Gonzalez was driving on Cypress Drive and pulled into the driveway where the girl was playing. Gonzalez's view may have been obstructed by a vehicle parked on the shoulder of Cypress Drive.

Samantha was taken to Lee Memorial, where she later died.

FHP is still working out the details of this case.

Hearts go out to the family, you know this is a child and it’s heartbreaking. We’re going to determine exactly happened and that’s going to take a little bit of time, but the one thing that we know is that a little girl is not here and that’s tragic.
Lieutenant Greg Bueno ,FHP.