Daughter Of Christian Music Star Killed In Tragic Accident

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The 5-year-old daughter of Grammy-winning Christian music star Steven Curtis Chapman was struck and killed Wednesday by a sport utility vehicle driven by her brother, authorities said.

The girl, Maria Sue, was hit in the driveway of the family's home Wednesday afternoon by a Toyota Land Cruiser driven by her teenage brother, said Laura McPherson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

The brother, whose name and exact age weren't available, apparently did not see the girl, McPherson said. No charges are expected.

"It looks like a tragic accident," she said.

Several family members witnessed the accident, which happened in Williamson County just south of Nashville. The girl died later at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, hospital spokeswoman Laurie Holloway said.

In a statement, Velvet Kelm, a publicist for Chapman, said Maria was the Chapmans' youngest daughter.

Chapman, who is originally from Paducah, Ky., and his wife have promoted international adoption and have three daughters from China, including Maria. They also have three biological children.

The singer's Web site says the couple was persuaded by their oldest daughter to adopt a girl from China. The experience led the family to adopt two more children and create Shaohannah's Hope, a foundation and ministry to financially assist thousands of couples in adoption.

The Chapmans did missionary work at Chinese orphanages in 2006 and 2007, according to the Web site.

"After our first trip to China, my wife and I knew our lives were changing - our eyes and hearts were opening to how big God really is, and we have wanted to experience more of that," Chapman says on the Web site.

"We've really wondered whether or not we should just go to China and stay there. But I don't think so. I believe God is saying, 'I want you to go, get your heart broken, your eyes opened, and then take this story back to the church in America and around the world.'"

The 45-year-old singer also has released a book about being a father titled "Cinderella: The Love of Daddy and his Princess." He has won five Grammy awards and 54 Dove awards from the Gospel Music Association, according to Kelm.


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