Family mourning loss of child after accident

Tampa, Florida -- A community is heartbroken over the loss of a child who was died after being hit by a city vehicle.

According to police, a City of Tampa vehicle was leaving the Tampa Park apartments near Ybor city just after 8:30 on Thursday night when the driver, Robert Fennell, hit and killed Demetrick Lindsey.

Witnesses jumped in to help but it was too late. The 2-year-old Demetrick also known as JJ died on scene.

JJ was the mourning mother's only child she and she is currently being consoled by family and friends after reflecting on her loss. JJ's aunt Theresa Carithers expressed her pain too.

"Things happen for a reason, it's hard to understand," said Carithers.

The whole neighborhood is still shaken by Thursday's accident.

According to investigators, Robert Fennell was leaving the complex driving a city vehicle just after 8:30 p.m. when JJ ran out in the street and was hit by the truck.

JJ was taken to the hospital and died shortly after.

No charges will be filed against Fennell. Tampa police explained that this was a "tragic accident".

Witnesses shared that JJ was in the hands of a caregiver when the accident happened, which is something that investigators told me they are still looking into.

"I had several people tell me he was sitting on her lap, the friend's lap, and he just got up and he ran. She ran after him to grab him but it was too late and they said it wasn't no way for the city to avoid from hitting him," said Carithers.

The family raised concerns about why the City worker was at the complex during the time of the accident.

According to the City of Tampa, Robert Fennell has been employed by the City of Tampa Water Department since July 2006.

He drives a city issued vehicle to and from work so he can respond to overnight emergencies.

Last night, he was on duty but violated policy by driving to the apartment complex to visit with family in between work orders.

The city says Fennell will not be driving a city vehicle until the investigation is complete.

A memorial has already been started at the complex in JJ's honor.

The family is working on putting together a vigil sometime Friday evening.


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