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7-year-old boy crawling after ball crushed by truck in Louisiana parking lot, police say

A Louisiana 7-year-old was hit by a car and killed Saturday while trying to get the ball he was playing with, state police said in a news release.

Kaidan Marley Coke lives in Ringgold, a northwestern Louisiana town about 38 miles southeast of Shreveport.

The accident happened Saturday morning, Louisiana State Police said in a news release.

A 2011 Dodge Ram was backed into a parking space in a private parking lot, state police said.

Kaidan, the 7-year-old, was playing inside the parking lot with a ball when the ball rolled under the Ram. He went to get the ball and the driver of the Ram, who didn’t know the boy was under the vehicle, pulled out of the parking space.

The Bienville Parish Coroner’s Office pronounced Kaidan dead at the scene.

Authorities said they don’t think the driver was impaired but officials took routine toxicology samples to submit for analysis. This crash is still under investigation.

Family asks for community’s help to celebrate 7-year-old’s life

Kaidan’s family started a GoFundMe to raise money to bury him.

“Kaidan was silly and filled with joy and we want him to be remembered properly,” wrote his brother, Damien. “He was seven years old and had so much love and joy to spread … We didn’t have insurance on him so if you could help us we would greatly appreciate it.”

The boy’s brother shared the link on his personal Facebook page.

Family members shared memories of the boy on social media. He loved Spider-Man, so they asked anyone who attended candlelight vigils and other events to wear red and blue. He also loved to dance, ride his bike and play basketball, family members said.

Local tattoo shop Blessed Ink also held a fundraiser for the boy, offering raffle tickets for customers who came in to get tattoos.

Police stress safety rules to prevent more deaths

“As our Troopers work to ensure the safety of our roadways, investigating fatal crashes remains a top priority,” state police said. “Dealing with the aftermath of a fatal crash is always challenging, particularly when children are involved.”

Police stressed the importance of teaching children and drivers about vehicle safety to prevent incidents like this one.

Some tips authorities shared for children include:

  • Never play near or around cars and trucks

  • Stand to the side of the driveway or sidewalk so drivers can clearly see you when they are backing out

And for drivers, state police suggest that they:

  • Walk around vehicles and thoroughly check the surrounding area before reversing

  • Avoid solely relying on detection devices, as they may not always be foolproof

  • Be extra cautious and attentive when driving through residential areas

  • Keep a watchful eye out for children

  • Reduce your speed

“By following these safety tips, we can all play a role in preventing tragic crashes and keeping our communities safe,” state police said.

Saleen Martin is a reporter on USA TODAY's NOW team. She is from Norfolk, Virginia – the 757. Follow her on Twitter at @SaleenMartin or email her at sdmartin@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Family celebrates the life of 7-year-old killed trying to retrieve ball