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Girl who died saving toddler's life receives Carnegie medal for heroism

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Posted at 12:57 PM, Dec 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-20 15:58:54-05

LAKESIDE, Calif. - A 10-year-old East County girl who died while saving a toddler from being hit by a runaway vehicle on a sloping driveway 10 months ago was named Tuesday as a posthumous recipient of a Carnegie medal for heroism.

Kiera Vera 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.

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 Feb. 22 when a parked 1999 Mercedes-Benz began rolling in reverse down a sloping driveway, likely because another child had inadvertently shifted its transmission out of gear.

Kiera ran behind the vehicle and pushed 2-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.

Emmah only suffered some scrapes, according to Carnegie.

The medal, 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.