Samantha Ann Leslie
1996 – May 29, 2001
I would like to warn people about the dangers of automatic seats in a car. If the car’s seats move without the keys being in the car, it can kill. I know because my daughter was killed in our driveway. I never left my children in the car with the keys even for a second, but I had no idea that the seats would move without a key in the ignition. She must have gone in the car to get her headphones for her CD player. She was 5 years old. She crushed herself between the seat and the door by pushing one little button. But until more children die like that, the car company won’t warn people about it. I don’t want any more children to die. Maybe if more people were aware of the automatic seats when they buy a car, it could help to stop it from happening to someone else.
Power seat kills girl, 5, playing in family’s SUV
May 31, 2001 By Brian Woodward INQUIRER SUBURBAN STAFF
WILLISTOWN – A 5-year-old girl playing at home just a few feet from her parents was killed Tuesday night after she climbed into the family’s luxury SUV and eventually became crushed between the driver’s seat and part of the car’s frame, police said yesterday.
Samantha Ann Leslie was discovered by her parents, John and Carol Leslie, in the car in their driveway shortly before 8 p.m., less than 15 minutes after they last saw her alive. The girl was pinned between the seat and a part of the frame known as the B-pillar behind the door of the 2001 Chevy Tahoe, police said.
Chester County Coroner Rodger Rothenberger said the girl most likely was climbing through the crack between the front seat and door when she pressed one of the buttons on a door console that moves the seat to pre-programmed positions.
“”There were a couple of positions programmed in there,”” Rothenberger said. “”We are asking possibly did she get in there and trigger one of the buttons, and the seat then began moving and crushed her.””
Terry Rhadigan, a spokesman for General Motors safety division in Washington, D.C., said the company had not had reports of similar accidents.
According to a database maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the federal agency that monitors national vehicle safety, no similar problems have been reported for the vehicle.
“”It is a tough one to try and track, though,”” said Rae Tyson, a spokesman for the agency. “”Because unless it is considered a design defect, or unless it happened on a highway, we don’t always know about it.””
The girl was rushed to Paoli Memorial Hospital and pronounced dead about an hour after she was discovered trapped.
Willistown Township Police Chief Hugh Murray said he did not expect to file charges.
A Funeral Mass for Samantha Ann Leslie will be said at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow at St. Patrick’s Church in Malvern. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery in Conshohocken.
Brian Woodward’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org