Girl who died saving child's life gets heroism award

Posted at 12:01 AM, Dec 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-21 03:01:29-05

Kiera Vera Larsen was just awarded the Carnegie medal for heroism - nearly 10 months after her death. The brave 10-year-old was killed by a runaway car on February 22, after she pushed another child out of the vehicle's path.

Larsen was one of 21 given the award from the Pittsburgh-based Carnegie Hero Fund Commission, and one of four who died while saving, or trying to save, someone else.

“She ran out there and saved them girls and got them out of the way," said Kiera's grandfather, Preben Larsen said. "Unfortunately, it took her life."

Authorities said Kiera was playing in her front yard in the 13400 block of the Highway 8 Business Route shortly after 5 p.m. on February 22 - when a parked 1999 Mercedes-Benz began rolling in reverse down a sloping driveway, likely because another child had accidently shifted its transmission out of gear.

Kiera ran behind the vehicle and pushed two-year-old Emmah Gusich out of the way before being run over, according to the California Highway Patrol. Paramedics took her to Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa, where she was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. 

“I just miss her every damn day of my life," her grandfather said. "Every minute.” 

The toddler who Kiera saved suffered only a few scrapes.  

The Carnegie medal for heroism, established more than 100 years ago by the famous industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, is given to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. Recipients or their families receive the medal and a financial grant.