Family mourns death of toddler, grandmother arrested

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Police have arrested the grandmother of a toddler who was tragically killed in an accident in front of her Gwinnett County home Tuesday afternoon.

Gwinnett County Police said Wednesday, the child’s grandmother, Gilma J. Ordonez-Guevara, 44, was the driver of the vehicle that killed 23-month-old Valeria Leiba. Investigators said Ordonez-Guevara backed over the toddler.

WATCH: Family members mourn the loss of a toddler, react to grandmother's arrest

The accident happened shortly after 4 p.m. Tuesday in the 1000 block of Memory Lane near Lawrenceville. Gwinnett County police said a nearly 2-year-old girl was struck in front of her home. She was rushed to Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville, where she was later pronounced dead from her injuries.

Initially, police said, Ordonez-Guevara denied being involved in the crash, but later recanted her story after police secured a search warrant and found conflicting evidence inside her vehicle.

Police said Ordonez-Guevara lived at another house in the same neighborhood as the child. During a second interview, Ordonez-Guevara admitted to officers she accidentally struck the toddler as she was backing out of the driveway. She told police she did not know the child was behind her SUV.

After the crash, police said Ordonez-Guevara carried the child inside the home and then drove back to her house. She left her vehicle there and walked back to the scene, police said.

The family told FOX 5 News the grandmother did not realize she had hit the child when she left the scene. They said the grandmother is in the U.S. legally, but they fear she may be deported for driving without a license. Unable to afford an attorney, the family said they are raising money to pay for expenses, including the child’s funeral.

Ordonez-Guevara was booked into the Gwinnett County Jail on charges of vehicular homicide, hit and run, obstruction of a law enforcement officer and driving without a license. She also faces an immigration hold, according to jail records.

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