Society

Man Kills Toddler With Car While Reaching For Cigarette

| by Sean Kelly
Lacey Thomas' three childrenLacey Thomas' three children

A Florida toddler was hit and killed by a car as the driver was reportedly reaching for a cigarette.

Lacey Thomas was walking in the area outside her home with her three young children on April 1 when she and two of her kids were hit by 26-year-old William Cameron Perkins — who had lost control of his car after he dropped his cigarette and became distracted.

Ava, Thomas' 3-year-old daughter, sustained severe injuries that ultimately took her life, Tampa Bay Times reports. Her 1-year-old brother, Spencer, was last reported to be fighting for his life at St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa.

Thomas was also injured in the crash but was reported to be in stable condition. Her 6-year-old daughter Tana was not hit by the car, and the kids' father was not with the family at the time of the collision.

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"It's a terrible tragedy," neighbor Aline Bryant told Tampa Bay Times. "I just told my husband, it could have been us with our granddaughter walking down the block. ... It's just senseless."

"For somebody just to drop a cigarette and worry about a cigarette more than worrying about what's on the road or by the road ... it's devastating," neighbor Mark Schmidt told ABC Action News.

Schmidt added that he'd seen Thomas walking in the neighborhood a number of times before the crash.

"She walked a lot [and] all the time," he said. "[She walked] up and down the street. She walked a couple hours down and comes back."

Perkins' wife said she and her husband were devastated by what occurred. At the time, she said, her husband was test-driving a car under a suspended license.

"Our prayers are for them, everybody involved, the poor guy that had the accident and ran into them," neighbor Robert Bryant told WFLA. "My heart goes out to him. You look down and up for a second and all of a sudden you’ve run over people.”

Perkins was previously convicted of defrauding a pawn broker, dealing in stolen property and grand theft, Tampa Bay Times notes. He had also been arrested for domestic violence in January. Authorities said they don't believe alcohol was a factor.

Perkins was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended license and causing serious injury and was ticketed for careless driving. Police said these charges could change, however, now that Ava has passed away.

Sources: Tampa Bay Times, ABC Action News, WFLA / Photo credit: Tampa Bay Times

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