February 22, 2024
Melissa Ann Damron had locked Dunar Larson out of the car, and he was run over as he ran alongside and tried to open the door, police said.

A 42-year-old Corona resident was arrested on Thursday, Sept. 7, after police say she fatally ran over her 6-year-old son as he ran alongside the car while attempting to open the door.

Dunar Larson died at a hospital after being struck on Aug. 22 on Sallie Jeffreys Way, the Corona Police Department said.

Investigators learned that Melissa Ann Damron locked Dunar out of her car as she drove away from their home on Clemence Court that morning.

“Duner chased after the vehicle and attempted to open her car door.  Melissa continued driving, and Duner fell into the roadway, where he was 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 wrote in a news release.

Damron did not appear to be impaired, police said.

After a two-week investigation, Damron was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and child endangerment causing death. She posted $50,000 bail and was released, police said. Damron had not been charged as of Friday. With Damron out of custody, there is no immediate deadline for the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office to make a filing decision.

Corona police could not be reached Friday to answer questions such as why they believe Damron locked her son out of the car and why they believe she knew her son was close to the car.

A voicemail message was left with Damron on Friday seeking comment.

Court records indicate that it was not the first time Corona police accused Damron of being careless with one of her children.

At 9:40 a.m. on June 15, 2022, Damron was pulled over while driving a black golf cart on California Avenue near E. Ontario Avenue and was cited for driving it on a street where the speed limit was greater than 25 mph and for having an unrestrained child in a vehicle, according to Superior Court records.

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The officer wrote on the citation that there were children ages 4, 3 and 1 in the cart.

Damron pleaded not guilty and requested a trial by a judge. On Oct. 7, the officer testified, as did Damron, and Superior Court Commissioner Tamara Wagner found Damron guilty. She was fined a total of $727.

Damron later petitioned to attend traffic school for the infractions, but Wagner denied the request, court records show.

Police ask anyone with information on the collision to contact Officer Jake Westall at 951-817-5784 or [email protected].