Troopers said if the toddler had been buckled in a car seat, she would have survived.
The crash happened just before 1 a.m. Thursday at the end of the Perrysville Avenue ramp off of northbound I-279.
According to a report from the Pennsylvania State Police, Taylor Jefferson, 24, of Penn Hills, Pennsylvania, was driving north when he stopped in the left lane and put the car in reverse. His car collided with another northbound car driven by Daniel White, 21, of Pittsburgh. Troopers believe the driver passed the exit and was trying to get back to it.
Taylor Jefferson and another passenger in his car, Tyrek Jefferson, 22, of Pittsburgh, were taken to Allegheny General Hospital along with White. Family friends say Sariyah was Tyrek's daughter.
Strangers stopped at the scene to try to help the victims. One man said he arrived seconds after the crash and tried to get the child out of the car. He described the scene as chaotic.
A Ross Township police officer drove Saryiah's ambulance so paramedics could treat her on the way to the hospital.
A cousin of the child told WPXI, "We are all heartbroken. She was only 2 years old, didn't even have a chance at life. She was just too perfect for this earth. We will miss her terribly. We just need prayers to make it through this hard time."
The outbound Parkway North was closed between the McKnight Road exit and Perrysville for about four hours.
Charges are pending in this case. Police are awaiting toxicology results.