Investigation of Lake Worth Shopping Center Crash Continues

Police reviewing driver's medical records as they consider possible charges

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Investigators are still collecting information about a tragic Lake Worth crash that killed a 7-year-old girl. (Published Monday, Aug 6, 2012)

    Lake Worth police hope to on Tuesday finish their investigation of Saturday’s shopping center tragedy that killed a 7-year-old girl and injured five other people.

    The victims were hit by an out-of-control pickup truck at about 1:40 p.m. in a shopping center anchored by a Target store.

    Savannah Deegear died of her injuries.

    A family friend said the family does not wish to comment publicly.

    "Friends of the family are wondering why this man is not charged and why things have not been expedited regarding this case," Lisa Mori said.

    His family said the driver was Vincent Martinez, 84, of Fort Worth.

    His daughter Ester Zenteno said on Saturday at the crash scene that her father has diabetes and takes insulin daily to control his blood sugar.

    "He's real good about it," she said. "I'm assuming that his sugar went out of control."

    Zenteno said her father would rather be dead than hurt someone else.

    Police are reviewing the driver's medical records as they consider possible criminal charges.

    "We're going to submit everything to the DA's office and let them make the final decision on this," Capt. John Pringle said.

    "We want to do it right," he said. "Our heart goes out to the victims, of course, and this was just a very tragic day."

    A memorial of teddy bears and flowers has grown outside the Target store where the girl sustained fatal injuries.

    Gennie Rankin, who witnessed the crash Saturday, added a teddy bear Monday morning.

    "The last couple days, it’s been hard to sleep," she said. "I'm just thinking about her all the time and felt like I needed to come."

    Rankin said she watched the girl’s family weeping at the scene Saturday but is still torn about whether the elderly driver should be charged as a criminal.

    "It's going to take awhile to figure out if it’s a medical thing," she said.

    The American Automobile Association of Texas offers information and an online application for older drivers to help them stay safe on the road. The AAA information covers the effect of medical conditions on older drivers.

    "Research has shown that people will live seven to 10 years longer than their safe-driving ability," said Doug Shupe, of AAA Texas.

    Shupe said the skills required for safe driving diminish as people age.

    "They diminish over time, and they diminish gradually, so you may not even know they've diminished until it's too late," he said.

    The Tarrant County United Way also offers training courses on living with diabetes and chronic disease.