Grand Prairie TX teacher arrested for fatal hit-run accident that killed 6-year-old boy www.privateofficer.com
Grand Prairie TX Jan 31 2013 Police arrested a longtime middle school teacher in the hit-and-run accident that killed a 6-year-old boy last week, after she came forward and confessed Tuesday, police say.
Police say Tammy Lowe of Grand Prairie came into the police station Tuesday “distraught” and looking like she hadn’t slept in days. She confessed to being the driver in the hit-and-run that killed 6-year-old John Raidy as he crossed the street with his mother and sister on Thursday, police say.
For five days, police had searched for the driver of the car that hit John, which stopped long enough for him to fall to the road and then sped off.
Lowe was a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Adams Middle School in Grand Prairie and had been with the district since the 1996-97 school year. She resigned Tuesday before turning herself in to police, authorities say.
Police arrested Lowe, 53, on a charge of failing to stop and render aid, a third-degree felony. A second-degree felony charge of manslaughter was pending. She was being held late Tuesday in the Grand Prairie Jail on $100,000 bail.
John’s grandmother Anita Eads said the family was relieved that an arrest had been made and said it was the first step toward closure.
“It’s not going to bring John back, but at least we can say goodbye to him and not be thinking about that,” she said. “Now, we can concentrate on precious John.”
A first-grader at Stephen F. Austin Elementary, John was a blond-haired boy with blue eyes and dimples whose favorite subject in school was science. He cherished a stuffed cow named “Cowie,” which had been a gift from his mother, and slept with it every night. Now, the stuffed animal will be included in a floral arrangement in his memory. His funeral is Wednesday.
On Thursday night, John went with his mother and 2-year-old sister to buy candy at a store across from their apartment complex. On the way home, he was walking a few paces ahead of his mother, Lauren Raidy-Brooks, who was pushing the toddler in a stroller.
Authorities say the family had the right of way at the intersection of North Carrier Parkway and Holiday Hills Drive, near Crosswinds High School. The traffic light had been red for 14 seconds when Lowe drove her 2008 Toyota Yaris two-door hatchback through the intersection and struck John, tossing him onto the hood of the car, police say.
Lowe didn’t brake until the car hit the boy, as if she didn’t see him before the collision, police say. The car, traveling 30-35 mph, carried him on its hood for about half a block. Lowe stopped long enough for him to fall to the road before she sped off.
It’s still unclear why she didn’t stop to help or why she ran the red light in the first place.
After John died, police released video footage and sought the public’s help in finding the driver. Meanwhile, Lowe continued to report to work after the accident but had been acting abnormally, a Grand Prairie independent school district spokesman said.
Then, on Tuesday, Lowe left a handwritten resignation letter at Adams Middle School. After school officials reported her resignation and their concern about her to police, an officer went to her home to check on her welfare. Soon after, she came to the Grand Prairie police station with her husband. She looked distraught and confessed to the hit-and-run, authorities say.
During interviews with police, Lowe was nervous and tearful, said Sgt. Eric Hansen, a Grand Prairie police traffic investigator. “She did indicate that she was remorseful,” he said.
Hansen said Lowe’s car was found to have minor damage consistent with striking a small pedestrian.
No one answered the door at Lowe’s home in Grand Prairie on Tuesday. A neighbor, Tresa Mitchell , said that she didn’t know Lowe but that she believed she has an adult daughter, whom she saw often come to the home with young children. “They kept to themselves,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said the Yaris was typically parked in the driveway but had been in the garage in recent days.
The confession and arrest came as a relief to both police and John’s family.
“I’m glad that she turned herself in. It’s better,” said Eads, John’s grandmother. “It doesn’t make it all better, but to me, it’s better. … It was the right thing to do.”