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Mother was driving SUV that hit, killed 2-year-old boy in Lehi; family grateful for community support

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Posted at 9:02 PM, Mar 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-30 09:05:19-04

LEHI, Utah - The grandfather of the 2-year-old boy who was struck and killed by an SUV in Lehi Saturday night confirms the child's mother was the one driving the vehicle involved.

Two-year-old Tallin "Tui" Harding's grandfather Craig Harding said the boy's mother, Nikki Harding, is absolutely devastated. But he said Sunday the family has been touched by the outpouring of support from the community.

"This is something you just don't think about," he said. "Whoever thinks about having to plan a funeral arrangement for a two-year-old child?"

Tallin Harding. Image courtesy YouCaring.com

Tallin Harding. Image courtesy YouCaring.com

Tallin "Tui" Harding was the youngest of five children to Kaj and Nikki Harding. He was going to turn 3 on April 9.

On Saturday around 5:35 p.m., Tallin was out riding his scooter with his father near his home in Lehi when his mother, Nikki Harding, backed out of the driveway and accidentally struck her young son. Police said the boy suffered fatal injuries and immediately died at the scene.

Craig Harding talked about how his daughter-in-law had no time to react.

"Apparently, Tallin made a beeline right in front of the vehicle as she was leaving, and she didn't see him because of the height of the vehicle and smallness of the child--and he ran right into the front tire," he said.

He said she was confused at first about what she had hit.

"In fact, I believe she thought she ran over a toy at first," he said.

Tallin Harding's grandfather says the boy's mother is inconsolable.

"She is just beside herself," Craig Harding said. "She hasn't slept since, well, all night long. She hasn't eaten anything. Dad and her are totally distraught of course."

The community has been tying blue ribbons around the neighborhood as a tribute to Tallin. The boy's grandfather says his mother was close to her neighbors, and everyone is rallying around to support her.

"They're the perfect family," Craig Harding said. "And she's just the perfect mother. She does everything for everybody."

He said they're grateful for the support.

"Thanks for the family and friends that have come around and the neighbors," he said. "They really want to express their appreciation for everything that has been done for them. Meals have been coming in."

Family and friends have set up a web page for anyone who wants to donate to help the family with funeral arrangements and other expenses, click here for details.