Charges filed months after car fatally hits girl, 4, playing on playground outside Harvey school

HARVEY, Ill. (WLS) -- Charges have been filed in the playground death of a 4-year-old girl, the Harvey Police Department said Friday.

The young girl, Violet Singleton, was fatally struck by a car just after 3:00 p.m. on Sept. 8 in the 70-block of East 152nd Street outside Whittier Street Elementary School, officials said. Singleton was taken to a hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

After picking up her children from school, Swaleha Vhora jumped a curb, went over a fence and hit a swing set, striking Singleton with her car, police said Friday. Eyewitness accounts that Vhora was talking on the phone while driving were later confirmed by T-Mobile cellphone data obtained by the FBI. Three children, ages 3, 5 and 7, were in the car at the time of the crash.

Vhora has been charged with reckless homicide, police said. She was released pending her next court date after her family paid bond, which was set at $30,000. She was initially arrested at the scene of the crime, but was released without charges because police were still investigating the situation, said Detective Andrew Wallace. Biddings said it took his department months to charge Vhora due to a lack of resources and because "investigations take time."

Watch: Harvey Police Department update on charges in 4-year-old's death

EMBED More News Videos

The Harvey Police Department gave an update on charges filed in a 4-year-old's playground death.

Deputy Chief Cameron Biddings said Singleton's "terribly tragic" death is a "reminder of what can happen when people drive distracted."

"This tragedy did not have to happen," Biddings said. "Violet Singleton should not be dead."

The Harvey community has been in mourning over Singleton's death.

"We are deeply saddened to communicate that one of our students was tragically hit and killed in an automobile incident," Harvey Public School District 152 said in a statement to the community shortly after the deadly crash. "Please continue to keep our beloved student and family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

Mayor Christopher J. Clark also issued a statement after the 4-year-old's death.

"On behalf of the City of Harvey, I wish to express our sorrow and sympathy over this tragic death. As the police department continues the investigation of this case, our hearts and deepest condolences go out to the family," said Clark.
Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.