WEST HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (AP) _ A 6-year-old girl was stabbed to death in a freak accident at a family barbecue when she ran into a steak knife her grandfather was carrying to the kitchen, police say.

Kara Markert, of Uniondale, on Long Island, was stabbed Sunday as her grandfather, William Niehr, was clearing up after the barbecue at his house, said Officer Howard Burtt, a Nasssau County police spokesman.

''The kids finished first and went inside to play,'' said Sgt. John Nolan.

Niehr was carrying a stack of dirty dishes and utensils into the kitchen when his granddaughter came running full speed from the other direction and bumped into him turning a corner, Nolan said.

''She apparently ran right into the knife.'' he said. ''What a tragedy. She was struck in the chest and it then penetrated her heart.''

The girl was pronounced dead at Franklin General Hospital, Nolan said.