Toddler wanders from Washington day care, hit by car

BREMERTON, Wash. - Kitsap County parents and investigators are trying to piece together how a toddler was able to wander out of a day care center and get hit by a vehicle.

A 14-month-old girl is in Harborview Medical Center's Intensive Care Unit, and her parents are demanding answers.

It happened on Wednesday at Chico Christian Childcare in Bremerton. Officials from the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office said the little girl, Riley, was playing with other children in a fenced-in playground when the supervisor became distracted, and Riley got out through a gate.

Moments later, a man drove up to the center to drop off his son. He checked his child in, came back to his truck and put it in reverse. But investigators said that before he moved, the man heard a child crying.

"He went to the back of the car and basically saw a child at the right rear wheel of the vehicle," said sheriff's spokesman Scott Wilson.

Riley had cuts and bruises on her body, and investigators said those injuries likely came from being hit by a vehicle. What's unclear is whether that truck accidentally hit Riley or if someone else did. The truck driver said he didn't hit the child, and detectives say he's cooperating with the investigation.

That mystery has yet to be solved, but the larger question for many parents is how could such a small child get out of a care center.

"I'm just going to ask them what happened and I'll feel more at ease and my husband and I can decide if we're going to keep (our kids at the center) or not," said parent Serrina Muegge.

A representative from the day care said nothing like this has ever happened before, but that's not good enough for Riley's parents, who still have plenty of questions.

"Why 911 wasn't immediately called? How this and that happened, and it was all very unclear," said Riley's father, Richmond Dhaenens.

Riley will remain at Harborview, where her condition is listed as stable.