Update: Daughter of Christian singer dies after being struck by car in driveway

05/22/2008 at 04:07 PM ET

Update: The family has created a special blog for individuals to leave their comments and to view special videos of Maria.

Originally posted at 7:45 am: In what police officials are describing as a "terrible accident," 5-year-old Maria Sue Chapman — one of Christian singer/songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman‘s six children with wife Mary Beth — died last night after being struck by a Toyota Land Cruiser in the family’s driveway.  Compounding the tragedy, the SUV was being driven by her unidentified teenaged brother. 

At the time of the 5:30 p.m. accident several children were playing in the area, police said.  The driver pulled in and apparently was unable to see Maria as he made his way up the long gravel driveway.  Two of Maria’s playmates witnessed Maria being struck, and the entire family was at their Franklin, Tenn. home when the accident occurred.  Maria was flown by helicopter to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, where she was pronounced dead.

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John Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association, said that news of Maria’s death was revealed during Wednesday night services at the church attended by the Chapman’s, where Maria had recently graduated from preschool.  The little girl is the youngest of three children adopted from China by the Chapman’s, who formed an organization to assist other families seeking international adoption.  Said Styll,

I don’t know of anybody who loves his children more than he does and is so committed to the adoption concept, and to lose one, no matter what the circumstances, is heartbreaking beyond all comprehension.  He talks about his kids all the time. That’s his life. His kids are more important to him than music, that’s for sure.

Because police have chosen not to identify the driver of the car at this time, CBB won’t be providing the names and ages of Maria’s older siblings.

Source:  Steven Curtis Chapman’s Official Website, The Tennessean

Thanks to everyone who sent in tips.


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Showing 61 comments

M on

i can imagine the horror of being the brother,of her playmates witnessing that,of her parents rushing to her..its just so terrible and i am very sorry for their loss. ive seen a picture of marie with her family..shes beautiful 😦

Andrea on

Hearing this news broke my heart. I’ll be praying that God will give them strength through this devestating time, especially their son who was driving the vehicle (although they will all need much prayer).
They are a beautiful family and have been an inspiration in adoption to me.

Beverley on

Oh, that is so terrible. The loss of a child is the worst thing in the world and my heart breaks for them. I hope they get the teenage son some therapy and don’t point blame at him. He will need some professional counseling to get through this tragedy and will feel a lot of guilt for the rest of his life.
A double tragedy for the Chapman family. They will be in my thoughts.

Mari on

…how devastating…such a terrible tragedy for the family

Crystal on

I will say a prayer for the Chapmans. How devestating.

Heather on

Oh my gosh I can’t imagine what they are going through expecially the brother.

kara on

oh my goodness!! my thoughts and immense prayers go out to the chapman family. :[

may God’s healing hands be with them.

Sarita on

That’s terrible, it must be so hard on the family. And even thinking that she came all that way for a better life and than to die so young, heartbreaking!

I wish less people drove SUVs, the chance of dying when colliding with a normal car is far smaller.

Ellie on

Our hearts are aching for this wonderful family. Let’s all pray hard that they will sense God’s comfort.
I have a great deal of respect for CBB that you are not publishing the info about the older children.

Dr. Gardner on

CBB — if you’re moderating the comments, then drop the idiotic one about “less people driving SUVs.” A tragedy like this is NOT the time to pontificate on your own agenda. It’s time pray and grieve.

Naomi on

My prayers are with the Chapman family. May God wrap them in His loving arms and hold them close during this most difficult time of their lives. What a joy for the Chapman family to have loved Maria for these few years. Their lives will never be the same because of her.

momof8 on

There are no words, no one can give reason why. So many things to keep in prayer about. The family, the son, everyone who saw, all the next ‘firsts’ (Memorial Day, Fathers Day, etc..) Someone in Ohio is praying.

Adrianne on

I live in Nashville and our newspaper is reporting that her teenage brother was in the car that hit her. Very very sad for the whole family. I can’t even imagine.

Henrietta on

I was so incredibly saddened to hear this news. They are such a wonderful family, and Steven is my favorite Christian singers! My prayers go out to the family at this incredibly difficult time. I will say special prayers for her brother…the guilt that young man is going to carry around with him for the rest of his life is unimaginable!

This family has really had an emotional week. Their oldest daughter, Emily, became engaged earlier this week.

Liz on

I am truly devastated and heartbroken beyond what words can convey. I have never met or known of anyone who has been such a consistently admirable role model as a parent. And because of the joy Steven and Mary Beth found in adopting their precious “China Angels” as they called them, they have helped thousands of other loving families whose only hurdle to adoption was financial.

I am just so, so sad. I loved seeing him in concerts or on award shows because he was always sure to bring out one of his beautiful little girls and talk about the joy of parenting through adoption. I know the family was already deeply grieving over the recent tragedy in China and now this…I am a Christian, but now even I have to shake my head in anger and sadness and ask “Why, God?”

Ivey on

This is so horrible, so tragic and so sad. These huge monster cars, and small children playing in the driveway just don’t mix.

My heart goes out to this family, it really does.

Oh and please don’t Identify the teenage son!

Bella Mama on

God Bless this family… my goodness..

fuzibuni on

oh god. i want to cry for them. there are no words.

and i was feeling bad for myself because my car was broken into last night and my purse was stolen. wow, who cares about that now.
my problems are nothing in comparison.

my prayers are with them and all families who have lost their children.

Melly on

My heart breaks for the Chapmans, their family and friends at the tragic loss of Maria. My daughter’s employer and her husband are best friends with the Chapmans and their hearts are breaking. My thoughts and prayers are with the Chapmans during this difficult time. I can sympathize and empathize completely, knowing the shock and other stages of grief that our family went through when we lost my son. I could not have gone through that loss without my faith and I know the Chapmans are a family built on faith and are surrounded by a community of believers. God, please hold them close and give them the comfort that only You can give.

Tara on

I read about this tragedy last night on this wonderful website you ladies shared weeks ago.


Thanks for the updates, we are praying for them all. God be with them!

gigi on

on such a personal issue i agree that the son should not have to have his name smeared all over to the public, as he is for sure in much pain over this tragedy. i pray this family gets to mourn respectfully and in peace. bless all of them.

Stephany on

What a tragedy! I absolutely love SCC and his music. My prayers are going out this this family today, especially for the brother who hit her. What pain he must be going through!

I am so sad and heartbroken for this family.

CTBmom on

I am a big fan of Steven Curtis Chapman, and my heart goes out to him and his family at this horrible time. I will keep them in my prayers, that their faith will be a comfort for them in this tragedy.

meghan on

My heart is broken. My prayers are with the family.

Jess on

Oh, so sad. 😦

Little Maria, may you be held safely by your God until you are reunited with your loving family. Sweet dreams, god bless sweetheart.


J.J. on

That’s so sad :(. My condolences, thoughts and prayers go to the family during this difficult time.

Karen on

I just watched the video of Maria and Steven washing the dishes (it can be found on the commemorative blog for Maria), and I never cried so hard…How sad.

Although I am curious to know why they won’t identify which son was driving the car (Will or Caleb)… I understand it’s a very difficult situation, but maybe some people would like to adress their prayers directly to the brother involved in the accident…

God bless them all.

m on

Tragic. Sadly, there are many accidents like this with SUV. I hope gas goes to $6.00 a gallon soon, so people will move to smaller cars.

Kristen on

my heart goes out to the family 😦

Stacey on

I wanted to share to the family that my thoughts and prayers are with you all. I love SCC music and I pray that the Lord gives them strength to make it through this traggic time. There is a quote that I have been rembering a lot lately and I feel that I should share it. “When life knocks you to your knees, you’re in position to pray.” Love you all!!

elizabeth lozano on

oh my goodness, that is really horrible. I don’t know what I would do if that happened to my 3 year old boy. My heart goes out to the Chapman family. I can’t imagine the pain they are going through. To lose a family member, even a child is very saddening. May God find them peace. R.I.P Maria! You are now with God in Heaven, may you soon reunite with your lovely family.

Becca G. on

I recently lost my father, and I empathize with the family, I am sorry for your loss, may God be with you at this time.

carla at somethingaboutbaby.com on

Such a tragic story. My heart goes out to the family during this difficult time.

Sarah on

I am so sorry. I love Chapman’s music, my prayers will be with this family.

Kaley on

Thats such a horrible tragedy, I can’t imagine what their family (especially the older brother) must be feeling right now. My prayers go to the Chapman family.

G on

My heart goes out to this family, especially the son who was driving the car, I can’t imagine what they are going through right now.

Nickelle on

I can’t imagine how hard this must be for their family. I hope they are able to pull together and make it through this time. My thought are with all of them ,especially the boy who was driving. I can’t even some close to imagining how he must feel.

Cecilia on

What an unspeakable tragedy.
My prayers and condolences go out to the family.

Mary on

As I am watching the video I cant help but think how lucky the family was to have such a beautiful girl in in their lives even if it were for a short time. I wish peace for the brother who (and family) is going to be going through such a horrible, unamanageable time. He will need much love and patients and understanding at a time like this. Believe in “HIM” even when faced with uncertainty and grief. Sometimes easier said then done right? They seem to have a very close family I know that they will comfort eachother.

Lilybett on

This is a tragedy, but was most likely avoidable if some precautions had been put in place. That might sound a little harsh but people have been saying for years how dangerous these cars are because of the lack of all round visibility. A footballer here in Australia ran over his own little girl in his driveway a few years ago (luckily she survived) and he now speaks at schools and other places about the dangers of SUVs/4WDs and the need for rear cameras and backing sensors and alarms. I heartily agree.

I have a personal issue here, though, because I was almost run down by a teenager driving one of these behemoths (she turned into me and I had to fling myself off the pedestrian crossing – landing on my face on the side of the road). When she got out of the car she was almost hysterical saying she just didn’t see me. Which wasn’t surprising seeing as she wasn’t much taller than the steering wheel. People buy these cars to feel safe and to keep their children safe inside, but quickly become dangerous to other people if they can’t see probably or haven’t been properly trained to drive a 4WD.

Cali on

Where can I find that blog…”the commemorative blog for Maria”?
I would like to see it. My prayers go out to the family. I can not even beging to imagine what the brother is going through. May God bless them and look over them and especially the brother. Rest in peace Maria.

Corrie on

Heartbreaking…devastating….my prayers for the Chapman family. His music has gotten me through some tough times, and some of his music just reminds me to appreciate what I have…my children…my husband…everything. I hope that he and his family can find some peace…

Eric on

I am so sorry to hear about the Chapman’s daughter loss, Maria. My condolences go out to them. I pray that the Lord will grant them his everlasting presence in this time of hurt and grief.

nikki on

im so sorry to hear my prayers are with the whole family

Anita on

Steven Curtis Chapman has a youtube account where many of his videos include little Maria. This is so heartbreaking.

here’s one.

Jennifer on

My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Chapman family as they go through this very difficult time in their lives. May God comfort them, and may they continually sense his enveloping presence, as they endure the loss of their beautiful little girl.

Allie on

What a tragic event for the Chapman family. I cannot imagine what they are feeling, but I know their faith with guide them through this.

Some of you people need to get a grip and not blame the SUV…I can see BETTER out of mine than in a car. To the poster that said they hope gas goes to $6 a gallon, that is a pathetic statement given our current economy and not what this post is about.

teresax4 on

How incredibly sad!! I cannot even imagine! I will definately keep the Chapman family in my thoughts and prayers.

Sarita on

Allie, it’s not just about the sight, it is about the fact that if you are hit with an SUV the chance of dying is lot higher than if you are hit by a normal car.

This post s about that, because any chance to educate people on this is important.

Mae on

I’m only seventeen and I met Steven and his wife at a Christian camp 2 summers ago. It was very amazing to meet him. A very astounding Christ filled family.

My Grandmother did something similar, she drove a car over a train track not seeing the train, it killed my big sister just not my Grandma. I feel horrible for the family, especially the brother, I can’t imagine how he feels. I will continue to pray for the family. My Mother almost didn’t make it when my sister died, she couldn’t handle it. Night times were the worst for all of us, because you slow down, and things become so real, so raw.

God bless there family…I just pray for peace to cover them all at this horrible, horrible time.

“Weeping May Endure for a Night, but Joy Cometh in the Morning.” Psalms 30:5

Amanda on

What a terrible tragedy. My thoughts and prays are with the family at this very sad time. I hope in time they find the strength and faith to help them get through this.
This news broke my heart, No parent should go through the loss of a child.

Cheryl on

I was heartbroken to hear about Maria’s
tragic death. This little girl was blessed
to be adopted by such a loving family.
She will be waiting for the rest of the
family at the gate in heaven and that will
be a joyous moment. I believe it is hard for
the family to think of it that way right
Alot of Christians are praying for them!

Love.Life.Live.Laugh on

I just want to say that the family is in my prayers. It is very tragic, what happened to them all. I hope they take consolation in knowing she is now at rest and in peace. God Bless them.

Girlint on

Cheryl, Christians aren’t the only ones praying for them…
That poor family…such a tragedy…

Dan on

This is indeed a terrible tragedy for the family. Of course, Maria is now in the hands of the Lord and Steven and his wife will see her soon enough.

The really horrific thing about this is the guilt that the driver of the vehicle will have. Whether an SUV or some other vehicle, the results would have likely been the same. According to reports, he was not backing up (the primary danger issue with SUVs, vans, and pickups) which means that this would have occurred with ANY vehicle. Indeed, an SUV has better visibility forward than smaller cars given that the driver is higher off the ground so higher gas prices really would not have saved her.

The kids were playing in the driveway and the driver didn’t see Maria run in front of him. Simple as that. He may have simply been on a cell phone call (maybe if cell phones were more expensive this accident would not have happened?)

Bottom line, the Lord knows why things like this happen and in His providence, we have to rest.

Dean on

The Insurance Institute for Highway safety says SUVs are 5% to 7% better than passenger cars in reducing fatality risk.

While this particular incident is a tragedy, SUVs are safer than the average passenger car.

Frankenstein on

5 steps from Grief to Grace is my advice to the Chapmans, and you – you may read here: http://frankahilario.blogspot.com/

bianca on

i am so so so so sorry for their loss. i will be praying for them as well. i cannot imagine the pain they will have to live with for the rest of their lives not just by her death but because of their son too. no one deserves something like that, especially people like them.

Jeana Hudgins on

I will say a prayer for the Chapmans. How devestating I’m so very sorry for your loss and I know GOD is watching over you and holding your hearts GOD BLESS YOU ALL

faye on

This is so, so tragic and sadly something the driver will never recover from. He will heal a lot and he WILL go on, but never again will he feel happiness like he did before this happened. My heart goes out to the whole family.

K R on

Something about this whole accident doesn’t sit right with me. I do not want to be insensitive. Three reasons why. 1. Why did none of the “Several children playing in the area” scream for the Caleb to stop. 2. How in the world was caleb so calm and collected on television and continued to refuse to reveal his identity as the one who killed his own sister. Psychologically for a normal kid that would have messed them up pretty bad. But watching the news I could not get a single bit of worry or sorrow on his face. This is not humanistically correct of a person who accidentally ran over his own sister. 3. Why fly her all the way to another state when there were well equipped hospitals closer by? Think about it. I know this is insensitive but we must ask the hard questions. The truth will set you free!