A 12-year-old girl was killed on Sunday night in Pittsburgh after being struck and dragged 50 feet by her father’s SUV. The girl was on her first date with a 14-year-old classmate and was trying to pose for a picture with him as her mom and dad dropped the boy off at his home after picking them up from the mall.
According to court records, Richard Benton, 53, is facing a DUI charge. He refused field sobriety tests at the scene, but police say that he smelled of alcohol and was slurring his speech.
Shamera Harris got out of the Ford Explorer and stood behind it so her parents could get a picture of her and her date. The vehicle began to roll backwards and dragged Shamera until it came to a stop after hitting a tree. She died at the scene.
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Her mom, Carla Harris, said that Benton was “messing around with the gear shifter” before he got out of the SUV. The boy witnessed her tragic death, and her mom said she tried CPR but was unable to revive her.
This is absolutely devastating, but the fact that her dad may have been intoxicated makes it even harder to bear. Dealing with the death of a child is difficult enough, even if there’s absolutely nothing you could have done to prevent it, but to know that you caused the accident that took her life? I can’t imagine the pain of having to deal with that.
Officials are calling it a “terrible accident,” and the vehicle is being inspected to see if it was in proper working order. Lt. Daniel Herrmann said, “If there’s reason to believe he’s responsible for this girl's death, then there will be charges ... it's one of those things where you have to wait and see. You have a lot more investigation to go.”
Do you think Richard Benton should have taken the field sobriety tests?
Image via Honou/Flickr