It started off as a simple trip to a Bruster's ice cream shop in Auburn, Ala., on October 14, 2017.
It ended it unthinkable horror.
Sadie Grace Andrews, 3, was playing with her two siblings at the shop when she disappeared. Her parents, frantic, called the police to report her missing.
When emergency workers arrived a few minutes later, she had been found, covered in greasy sludge and unresponsive.
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The 3-year-old had apparently fallen through the lid of one of the ice cream shop's grease traps, plunged six feet and drowned. The family were desperately trying to perform CPR on the 3-year-old, to no avail, the Lee County coroner told the Ledger-Enquirer.
She was pronounced dead at East Alabama Medical Center at around 1:30 p.m., about a half-hour after the first call to police.
The death, which was ruled accidental, sent a shockwave through the community. People from across the county raised more than $18,000 to help the family pay for funeral expenses, and Bruster's CEO Jim Sahen released a statement about the death.
"On behalf of the entire Bruster’s Real Ice Cream Family, our sincerest sympathies goes to the Andrews family, their friends and all of those touched by this horrible accident. We cannot imagine the grief the family is going through," he said.
"A thorough investigation is underway to determine how this tragedy occurred. As a precaution, we have asked all of our franchisees to conduct an additional inspection of their grease traps to make sure they are safe. As a father and grandfather myself, I cannot imagine the grief the family is going through."
Many lids for grease traps around restaurants are made of plastic, because they aren't near areas where they're expected to face heavy loads or a lot of foot traffic. But Sadie's death is making lawmakers rethink whether that should be the case.
One of those lawmakers is State Senator Tom Whatley (R-Lee County), who introduced a bill on January 30 he hopes will prevent any tragedies like this from happening again.
The Sadie Grace Andrews Act, would require any commercial food service establishments with grease traps to provide locking, secure covers around the pits or face penalties.
The bill specifically mandates the covers be designed to prevent access by children and to handle any reasonable expected load. It would also need to have a bolt or locking mechanism and be heavy enough to prevent just anyone from opening it.
If a business doesn't follow the rule, they would be fined $500 for every day they don't correct the problem. That money would then go back to the state to further enforce the law.
Sen. Whatley (R-Lee County) worked with Sadie's family to craft the law, WSFA reported.
“It’s a terrible tragedy, and I will look at everything we can do to make everything safer for children and Alabama families,” Whatley told the Opelika-Auburn News shortly after the accident. “This never should have happened.”