A DOTING father wept as he recounted the day his toddler son died after running into the path of his reversing van as he dashed to greet his dad home from work.
Andrew Bake broke down as he told a Sheffield inquest of the moment he discovered his two-year-old son AJ was trapped under the wheel of his work van.
The “excitable” toddler had rushed out of the home where he lived with his dad, mum Prissana and grandmother Lilian in Sherwood Way, Cudworth, Barnsley, to meet his father.
But as Andrew, aged 40, was reversing around a stationary car to park, AJ ran into his path and his head became trapped beneath one of the van wheels.
Andrew, a ground worker, said he had no idea his son was there.
Speaking through tears he said: “I never heard any shouting or noise until I heard the lady who owned the parked vehicle shout a loud ‘no’.
“I immediately jumped out of the vehicle. I ran around to the front passenger side where I noticed my son trapped by the front wheel, laid face down.
“I had not realised he was there before - there was no noise on the side of the van, nothing. I hadn’t seen him at all. I cannot understand how he got under the van.”
Andrew immediately moved the van to free AJ and lay with him until an ambulance arrived.
Paramedics found no vital signs. Resuscitation attempts were made on the journey to Barnsley Hospital and continued in the emergency department, but doctors pronounced him dead around 40 minutes later.
Pathologist Al Adnani said the cause of death was a severe head injury.
A statement from AJ’s grandmother Lilian said the toddler was playing with his toys in their bungalow at around 4pm on May 26 when she went into the kitchen.
“I had my back turned to the kitchen window. I swung around to pick something up on the draining board when I saw him run past the window. I immediately ran outside and saw the van.
“I can’t remember seeing either Andrew or AJ and I thought Andrew must have him.
“Then I saw AJ laid underneath the van and Andrew kneeling down next to him. I screamed in horror.”
Neighbour Barbara Roberts described seeing AJ running towards the van. She said: “He was running as only young children do when their legs will not keep up with their body, arms flailing.”
The gates on the drive, usually kept shut, were open. Andrew said he had “no idea” why.
Recording a verdict that AJ died as a result of an accident, assistant deputy coroner Julian Fox urged the family to consider themselves “beyond reproach” for the tragedy.
He said: “AJ was a lovely, lively boy who looked forward each day to his father getting home from work. Sadly exuberant youngsters do come sometimes come to harm because they do not understand the dangers that can come to them. AJ was just such an exuberant young boy. I hope he is remembered with pride and joy.”