The family of an 11-year-old who was killed after he tried to stop a minivan from rolling into traffic is speaking out. Lane Rowe, a sixth grader in Burnt Hills, had recently celebrated his 11th birthday, just a few weeks before his young life was cut short Monday afternoon. Matt Hunter reports.
BURNT HILLS, N.Y. -- "It's been very, very difficult," said Lane Rowe's grandmother, Carolyn Bradley. "We lost a true hero, my grandson and their brother."
The third oldest in a family of five children, 11-year-old Lane Rowe was trying to protect his brothers and sister when his young life came to a sudden and tragic end Monday afternoon.
"It's just a shame. It really shouldn't have happened. It just wasn't right,” said Reid Rowe, Lane’s 16-year-old brother. “He was just too young."
According to New York State Police and family members, the family's minivan was parked in the driveway of their Burnt Hills home with three children inside -- one in the passenger seat and two in back -- when it suddenly began to roll toward the street. That's when Lane -- who was reportedly trying to get inside -- tried to stop it from entering traffic.
"The driver door was opened, and he was turning the wheel and stuff. He was running across the lawn. When we got to the ditch, he went into the ditch first, and the van just went over him," said Luca Rowe, Lane’s sister.
"I ran out and I saw [Luca] down there because she got out of the car first and my little brothers were still in the car,” Reid Rowe said. “I didn't know where Lane was and she said he was under the car, and I looked under and it was just an awful site, seeing just, you know, his body...it just wasn't good seeing him like that."
According to family members, Luca, Lane's elder sister of just one year, was in the passenger seat and turned the ignition key in an attempt to unlock the doors for Lane, just as the minivan started to roll backward.
The children's mother had reportedly just stepped inside the house to retrieve something and was headed back to the driveway.
The tight-knit family is now left mourning the loss of a cherished son and brother.
"He would tell jokes. His cousins were always laughing at him and every once in a while he would break out in a dance and just start dancing,” Bradley said. “He was just a funny little boy to have around and lifted everybody's spirit. He was a beautiful child."
State Police investigators are continuing to investigate Monday's accident.
Grief counselors were made available Tuesday at O'Rourke Middle School in Burnt Hills where Rowe was a student.