Boy's grandmother speaking out in Carter Co. accident

WILSON, Okla. (AP) - The paternal grandmother of a 5-year-old boy who was killed Wednesday when he was hit by a car that a 13-year-old girl had started up to warm the engine is speaking out.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says John Gifford died when the girl put the vehicle in gear and it rolled forward on him about 11 this morning.

Nita Havlik told The Oklahoman that initially John and three of his siblings were placed in foster care where the father tried to teach them about guns. Havlik says one of the boys shot the other one in the ear with a plastic pellet.

She says the children were then split up and sent to different foster homes.

Havlik says her 40-year-old son, Melvern Lester Gifford, has battled the Department of Human Services to get his boys back and was furious when DHS called to say the youngest boy was dead.

Havlik says Melvern Gifford has been raising his four youngest children since their mother left. She says they were taken away from him after Gifford was accused of neglect.

DHS spokesman George Johnson confirmed that the boy who was killed was in DHS custody and said the case is under investigation.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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