Toddler crushed to death by door while playing

Talasia Hamm was a typical 18-month-old girl. Inquisitive and happy, especially while stomping her feet or exploring.

It was that curiosity that ultimately led to her death Monday afternoon as she played outside the southwest Atlanta apartment where she lived.

Talasia spotted a cat and wanted to get closer, her father told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She wandered just out of her grandmother’s view. And somehow, she managed to knock over a large burglar door that had been propped against a wall near an apartment being renovated.

“I was sitting on the porch on the phone with my wife when I heard a cry and the sound of metal hit the ground,” a neighbor, Mario Miller, said Thursday.

Miller ran to help the girl, who was under metal weighing at least 50 pounds, he said.

“I had to struggle to pick it up,” Miller said.

Talasia’s grandmother called 911 and then the girl’s father, Justin Hodges, who ran outside to find a neighbor holding his only child. Talasia seemed to be in and out of consciousness as her shocked family and neighbors looked on, Hodges said. Miller put ice on her head.

Rather than waiting for paramedics to arrive at the Macon Drive complex, family members put Talasia in the car and drove to the nearby intersection with Cleveland Avenue, where firefighters and police met them.

“I’m literally giving my baby mouth-to-mouth resuscitation,” Hodges said. “It was a hit to the heart.”

But it was too late for Talasia, who died from her injuries after being flown from Grady Memorial Hospital to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston.

No criminal charges are expected to be filed in the toddler’s death, which police believe was a tragic accident, Officer John Chafee with Atlanta police said.

At the apartment complex Thursday afternoon, the toddler’s father remembered the little girl who loved to have fun.

“She liked to get into stuff,” Hodges said. “And she had this cute little dance she did, rocking side to side. She liked to stomp her feet and have a good time.”

Funeral arrangements had not yet been finalized. Anyone wishing to contribute to the child’s funeral should visit any Wells Fargo branch and donate to the Tanasia Hamm Memorial Fund.

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