UTAH COUNTY – It was supposed to be a fun outing with her father. However, an accident at an Orem golf course turns tragic, killing a six-year-old girl.
Police and medics were called to the Links at Sleepy Ridge Golf Course Monday morning after the girl, Aria Hill, was hit by her father’s tee shot. The girl was reportedly sitting in the cart on the path when her father’s shot went wide left. Course Pro Steven Marett says wild shots are very common in golf.
“I’ve seen people hit them all over the place. You’d be pretty surprised,” he says, adding, “Every golfer has had an experience where they hit a ball towards a group or towards a person they didn’t intend to.”
Investigators say the cart was between 45 and 90 degrees off to her father’s side. The ball flew right into the back of the girl’s head, at the base where it joins the neck. Marett didn’t see this particular accident, but he’s seen people get hit by balls before, and the injuries have never been this serious.
Marett says, “I’ve never even seen broken bones. They’d have just some big bruises, and that’s about it.”
The girl was rushed to a nearby hospital by ambulance, then flown to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City. Investigators say she died around 9:30 p.m.
“This is absolutely unimaginable. It’s been devastating to us here at the course and just in the community of Vineyard and Orem, overall,” Marett says.
The aunt of the little girl shared a statement on behalf the family.
“My name is Elizabeth Toone. I am the aunt of Aria Hill who passed away tragically in a golfing accident earlier this week. I just wanted to share this experience with you in hopes that those providers who took care of our sweet little girl will know how thankful we are for their service and expertise. We know they did everything in their power to help her and we are forever grateful to them for that. They are the best of the best.”
Toone posted a description of the medical professionals’ efforts to save Aria.
Police say there are no signs of negligence and this truly appears to be just a freak accident. They have no intention of opening any criminal investigation.
(Contributing: Paul Nelson)
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