A Corona woman was arrested Sept. 7 for allegedly killing her six-year-old son last month as he fell into the roadway and was run over by her while chasing after her car.
Melissa Damron, 42, was arrested for vehicular manslaughter and child endangerment, causing death. She has since posted $50,000 bail and was released from custody.
According to the Corona Police Department, officers responded Aug. 22 at around 7:55 a.m. to a call about a traffic collision involving a vehicle and pedestrian on the 1400 block of Sallie Jefferys Way.
Police found the victim, Duner Larson, in critical condition. He was transported to the hospital by paramedics, where he succumbed to his injuries.
According to the police investigation, Ms. Damron allegedly locked Duner out of her vehicle before driving away from their home.
The child ran after the car and attempted to open his mother’s door. However, Ms. Damron continued driving, causing Duner to fall into the roadway and be run over by the car.
“Evidence showed Melissa knew Duner was close enough to the vehicle to present a hazard, and she drove with gross negligence, causing her son’s death,” police said in a Sept. 7 press release.
Alcohol and drugs were not believed to be involved in the fatal accident, according to the police. Volunteers from Trauma Intervention—a local program providing immediate emotional support in traumatic events—responded to the scene as well to provide assistance to the family and community.
The case has since been under investigation by the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office. Anyone with additional information about this incident is urged to contact Officer Jake Westall at 951-817-5784 or via email at Jacob.Westall@coronaca.gov.
This fatal accident was not the first time Ms. Damron was involved in a negligent vehicle incident with her children. In June 2022, she was pulled over for driving a black golf cart on California Avenue, where the speed limit is 25 mph. The officer also cited her for having unrestrained children, ages 4, 3, and 1 in the cart, according to court records.
Ms. Damron pleaded not guilty in a trial for this earlier incident but was later found guilty in October 2022. She was fined $727 as a result.