Illinois woman dies after child finds gun, shoots her as she drove, police say

VERMILION COUNTY, Ill. — A Westville, Illinois, woman died Sunday after being shot by a 4-year-old child.

Capt. Mike Hartshorn of the Vermilion County Sheriff’s Office told The News-Gazette that Marita Hile, 64, was driving a car in Tilton when the vehicle crashed into a gas station sign.

Witnesses who ran to assist found Hile mortally wounded in the driver’s seat and the young child in the back seat with a handgun, the newspaper reported.

According to WCIA, the unidentified child was a relative of Hile’s and in her care Sunday.

The incident remains under investigation, but the Champaign County coroner said the child, who found the gun in the vehicle, accidentally fired the gun into the driver’s seat striking Hile, the TV station reported.

The accident occurred around 12:30 p.m., and Hile was pronounced dead at an area hospital a short while later, WCIA reported.

Meanwhile, Hartshorn confirmed to The News-Gazette that Hile and the child were the only two occupants of the vehicle.


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