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Grandmother of boy killed in Wilson wreck said he was in foster care

WILSON, Okla. - A 5-year-old boy has been killed when he was hit by a car after a 13-year-old started it to warm it up. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 5-year-old John Gifford of Wilson died in the accident in Carter County just before 11 Tuesday morning.
BY RANDY ELLIS - Staff Writer Modified: November 25, 2008 at 9:15 pm •  Published: November 25, 2008
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WILSON — A 5-year-old boy who was in foster care was killed today when he was hit by a car that a 13-year-old girl had started up to warm the engine.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol identified the victim as John Gifford of Wilson, and said the accident happened shortly before 11 a.m.

The car was parked in a private driveway when the girl started the engine, shifted it into gear and moved forward, striking the boy, troopers said.

Nita Havlik, the boy’s paternal grandmother, called The Oklahoman today after she was notified of the death. She complained about the care her son’s four youngest children have received since being taken into state custody by the Department of Human Services.

Initially the four boys were placed in a foster home where the foster father wanted to teach them how to use guns, hunt and trap, Havlik said.

“One of the boys shot his brother in the ear with a plastic pellet,” Havlik said, adding that John — the youngest — was not involved in that shooting.

The children were then split up and sent to four different foster homes, Havlik said.

Havlik said her son, Melvern Lester Gifford, 40, has battled DHS in an unsuccessful effort to get his boys back and was furious when DHS called to say the youngest boy was dead. Sign/view the guest book

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