The Mesa Police Department confirms former ASU standout and Arizona Cardinals player Todd Heap was behind the wheel in his driveway Friday when he accidentally hit and killed his three-year-old daughter with his truck.
The incident happened at a home near Eagle Crest Drive and Las Sendas Mountain Drive in Mesa just before 4 p.m.
Police say the girl was in her driveway when her father went to move their truck and hit her Friday. She was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The Baltimore Ravens, Heap's longtime former team, called the accident "knee-buckling news and an overwhelming tragedy."
Heap went to high school at Mountain View High School in Mesa, before attending Arizona State University. He was drafted in the first round by the Baltimore Ravens in the 2001 NFL draft, playing 10 seasons with the Ravens. Heap played the 2011 season and part of the 2012 season with the Cardinals before an injury led to his retirement.
He made the Pro Bowl after the 2002 and '03 seasons and was a second-team All-Pro in 2003. He was inducted into the Raven's Ring of Honor in 2014.
— Sun Devil Athletics (@TheSunDevils) April 15, 2017
"We cannot imagine the heartbreak and sorrow Todd and Ashley's family feels right now," the Ravens said in a statement. "We believe their deep faith and tremendous support from friends and family will help them through this unimaginable time."
Heap is from a Mormon family that stretches its lineage to the early days of the faith. Since 2007, he and his wife have operated a foundation to help sick and disadvantaged children.
In a 2015 interview with Kevin Byrne, the Ravens' senior vice president for public and community relations, he talked about family being the most important thing in his life.
"I just got done jumped on the trampoline with my 2-year-old daughter," Heap told Byrne. "And it's hard to get a bigger smile than that. I took all three of my boys golfing this morning. That was a lot of fun. (My wife) Ashley makes me smile every day. Family and all of the events we do, that regularly makes me smile."
Police say all indications in the case are that there were no suspicious circumstances to the incident, and that impairment does not appear to be a factor.
The Maricopa County Medical Examiner's office has not released the girl's identity or ruled on a cause of death.
The child safety advocacy group KidsandCars.org said more than 800 children have been killed in the past two decades in instances in which a child in front of a vehicle wasn't seen by the driver. The organization's president, Janette Fennell, said blind zones in the front and back of cars cause such tragedies.
The Arizona Cardinals released the following statement on the incident:
Team statement on the Heap tragedy. pic.twitter.com/cRx3nVFvOc
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) April 15, 2017
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