A 12-year-old girl plowed into a man walking his dogs—killing both him and a dog—after her father let her get behind the wheel of an SUV, police say.
The girl’s father, Tomas Mejia Tol, 42, is now facing charges after the vehicle pulled forward out of a parking space at an apartment complex and drove into the 46-year-old victim, according to the Houston Police Department.
“When the child pressed the accelerator pedal, the Ford moved forward at a high rate of speed, struck the man, one of his dogs and then a tree,” police said.
The victim, later identified as 46-year-old Enrique Vazquez, died at the scene, KHOU reports. The dog that was struck also died.
Tol had allegedly let his 12-year-old daughter get behind the wheel of a black Ford Explorer around 4 p.m. Thursday. An infant was also in the car at the time of the crash.
“You can’t allow a young child to drive in a populated place,” Sean Teare, chief of the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Vehicular Crimes Division, told the station. “If you’re going to teach a young person how to drive, go to an empty parking lot. Go somewhere where you’re not going to have the potential for taking someone’s life.”
After the crash, Tol initially told officers that he had been the one driving; however, investigators later discovered that his daughter had been operating the vehicle, according to KTRK.
Tol was taken into the custody and charged with criminal negligent homicide and endangering a child.
“Every time you turn the wheel, or you turn the key on a car, you are strapping on a deadly weapon,” Teare said.
Houston Police have said the investigation is ongoing. Witnesses told KTRK that the young girl was seen back home with her family after the fatal crash.
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