An 8-year-old Kansas girl who was reportedly driving her grandfather died after she lost control of the vehicle and went down an embankment Sunday, according to police.
The Kansas Highway Patrol identified the little girl as Cadence Orcutt, from the northeastern city of Troy.
Her passenger, 56-year-old Dennis Eugene Meers, was reported to have a possible injury and rushed to a hospital. The patrol said it was not known if he was wearing a seatbelt. The St. Joseph News Press reported that Meers is Orcutt's grandfather, but that was not immediately confirmed by NBC News.
Orcutt was driving westbound in a 2007 Chevrolet Cobalt when she apparently lost control of the car and "over-corrected" to the left, according to information on the patrol's website. The car then veered off the roadway and went down an embankment, where it overturned and landed on its top.
The little girl was not wearing a seat belt, the patrol said.
Kansas Highway Patrol Master Adam Simon told The St. Joseph News-Press that troopers and Doniphan County Sheriff's deputies investigated the accident. "Grandpa said he gave her permission to drive and she crashed," Simon told the News-Press. "It is just really an unfortunate accident."
The girl's mother, Brittany Nicole Orcutt, took to Facebook to defend herself against critics.
"For all the judgemental people saying bad things about me and my parenting skills there's one thing you all should know," she wrote in a post early Monday, "I am so over protective of my children."
"I would have absolutely never let my daughter drive on one gravel road, I wasn't with her and if I had been this wouldn't have happened."
She went on to say that her daughter wanted to be an art teacher and was "smart as a whip."
"I just hope that every parent holds their babies extra tight and realizing (sic) how lucky you are that they are in your arms."