WATAUGA COUNTY, N.C. -- Run over by his own father, a 6-year-old Watauga County boy was airlifted to Johnson Medical Center in Tennessee in what investigators are calling a terrible accident.

The NC Highway Patrol says the crash happened in a private driveway on Lucky Lane in Zionsville as the homeowner was pulling out in his Dodge work truck.

"The father had checked in the area, like he does every morning, because he knew his son was out there," said Trooper Josh Hodges.

Trooper Hodges says the father didn't know that his 6-year-old had pedaled in front of his truck as he was pulling off.

"His 6-year-old son rode his bicycle in front of the truck-- he couldn't see it, it's a larger type vehicle and just traveled over him while the son was still on the bike," Hodges explained. "I have children of my own and we really take it to heart."

Troopers have not released the names of the father or his son. They say the boy made it through surgery Monday.

Nearly a third of all deaths of children under the age of 5 happen when someone backs up and hits them with a vehicle.

More than 200 people die and 15,000 are injured every year in these type of accidents.

Family advocates pushed federal authorities to adopt a mandatory rear camera policy for all new vehicles two years ago. This policy is being phased in, beginning with cars made in May 2016. However, this new policy would likely not have made a difference for this boy, since he was in the front of his father's truck and too low for the dad to see him.

"It's one of those deals that are unavoidable," Trooper Hodges declared.