Toddler dies after being hit by car; driver arrested

By: Ruth Baker Email
By: Ruth Baker Email

DENISON, Tex. -- An accident in Denison over the weekend killed 14-month-old Zachary Ellis Duncan when he was hit by a car Sunday evening. Authorities say the driver was trying to splash children after rainwater filled gutters and ditches.

The child's mother says she did all she could to save her little boy, even jumping in front of the car that was headed straight for them.

It was supposed to be a fun outing following a brief downpour on a Sunday afternoon, but in an instant it turned to tragedy.

Zachary’s grandmother, Gloria O’Neal, says "Everyone is just trying to console everybody, and we're really worried about Tori (Zachary’s mother) right now because she is in the hospital."

Zachary’s mother, Victoria Neasbitt, is recovering from her injuries at Texoma Medical Center and dealing with the loss of a child.

"He knew he was loved…his brothers loved him. He was momma's little chunk monkey and always will be," said Neasbitt.

Authorities say the mother tried to jump in front of the car to save Zachary. She’s still in the hospital with severe injuries.

"I crawled around the car and pulled my son who was mangled under the car out from under the car. The last thing I remember seeing was my son on the grass with blood everywhere and me getting pulled away from him," said Neasbitt.

The driver of the car, Terri Perdew, 47, was arrested accused of manslaughter.

All the family has now are their memories of Zachary.

"He loved to run and play he loved to play tag and in the water," said Zachary’s grandmother.

Zach’s mother, Victoria Neasbitt, is recovering from her injuries at Texoma Medical Center.

Funeral services are pending for Zachary Duncan.

Perdew is currently being held in the Grayson County Jail.

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  • by Dawn Location: Wylie on Aug 7, 2007 at 11:40 AM
    my prayers go out to the mother of the child. I'm so sorry for your loss. As for Terri, To be smiling in your mug shot has got to be the most insane thing I have seen!! maybe or maybe not smiling, I just hope in your behalf your tox. results come out clean.
  • by Joe Location: Pottsboro on Jul 28, 2007 at 04:04 AM
    I have just finished reading the comments posted thus far about this horrible tragedy. I will not judge either party -- I will only pray for them. I will, however, say something about those who've posted comments. I am not a native of this Texas/Oklahoma area. I grew up in another state and, while I have only attended two years of college, I am somewhat "educated". It is, unfortunately, apparent that the vast majority of those who have written on this subject are not. The spelling, grammar and punctuation are atrocious. The backwoods, redneck ideaology run rampant in this area. This is a beautiful area but the people -- uneducated, uncaring, self-depricating, slovenly, lazy -- dirty the picture. People, I beg you to take pride in yourselves; raise yourselves up to the better. Don't settle for what you are -- aim higher. Most of you are such low standard and what is wrong with our country. Rise up, get out of your filth, dredge the dirt out of your system!
  • by someone who is very close to the driver Location: sherman on Jul 25, 2007 at 04:09 PM
    Just so people know terri would never for one second hurt a child in anyway, I wish the people who want to put her down would think about if this was them. Both of the parties do live in the same building. My heart goes out to the mother who lost her baby but she also needs not to lie about what really happened.
  • by Pat Location: Sherman on Jul 25, 2007 at 07:18 AM
    The comment from the "Citizen" of Sherman says it all. You don't have to go any further. Pray for all of these people. People are so fast to cast stones. Pray that something positive comes out of all of this. Keep the mother of this child lifted up in prayer and the lady that hit the child. God bless all of you.
  • by concerned mom Location: texas on Jul 24, 2007 at 09:43 PM
    If the comment that was posted about Zach being a foster child is true & If mom only had him less than a week why wasn't she being as protective as she could be of that baby. Does she want the others removed from her? Prayers to all those involved with this family and to the foster parents who raised this child for the first year of his precious life
  • by someone who knew Zach Location: around on Jul 24, 2007 at 05:02 PM
    Zach was brought to foster parents at the age of 3 mos and was returned to his birth mother less than one week before this tragedy happened. He was a sweet little boy with an amazing giggle. He was loved by those who knew him and he will be missed.
  • by Jeremy Location: Pottsboro on Jul 24, 2007 at 04:17 PM
    Why would you even be out in the street playing in a nasty water puddle in the first place??? Dont you know you can buy a small pool at the dollar store for a few dollars..
  • by citizen Location: sherman on Jul 24, 2007 at 12:49 PM
    What I can't understand is the venom coming from so many of you. You are so hateful in some of the things you have to say. People are hurting, and it's like you are trying to add to their pain. This baby died, and his mother's life will never be the same because of it. Nor will the lives of the siblings who witnessed the tragedy. You need to quit placing blame and pray for them. The driver of the car did not intentionally hit that child. She exercised poor judgement. She will have to deal with her guilt for the rest of her life. She, too, needs prayers. Could this tragedy have been avoided? Yes. If they weren't near the street it could have been avoided. But being near the street doesn't break any laws, and it doesn't make her a bad parent. And the fact that CPS has been involved with the family before has nothing to do with this tragedy. Her children were not unsupervised, she was right there beside them, laughing and playing, and supervising them. Their lives would not be destroyed right now if the driver of the car had used better judgement. She drove a car too fast for the road condition to maintain control. That violates the law, which is why she is now in jail. But, it was an accident. She used poor judgement, she did not do it intentionally. She will suffer emotionally for this the rest of her life, more than any of you will ever know. Does that make it right? No. But it does mean that you need to withdraw your fangs and realize that many people are hurting, and stop the hateful comments you are all making. People are hurting. Reach out to them. Be people of God instead of sounding like you're in bed with the devil. They need prayers, not your venomous comments.
  • by To Casey in Denison Location: Denison on Jul 24, 2007 at 12:04 PM
    I happen to live in the same neighborhood and you and i both know she is not a good mother. She's only had her kids back for 1 week and look at the tragedy that has occurred. No one is saying she's not sad. But someone needs to look out for the other children that are in the house. Obviously the children were takin out of the home for a reason. Playing in puddles is one thing everyone has. But playing in the street with young children is another thing. Its called good judgement...Hmmm Lets all go outside in the street and yall can play in the puddles but we have to watch for cars. Tell that to a 1 year old...The lady driving and the mother are both at fault...
  • by Denison Location: Denison on Jul 24, 2007 at 11:37 AM
    It is just a sad siuation all around....
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