Steven Barnes of Lake Worth, Florida was arrested for allegedly crashing into three-year-old pedestrian Priscila Perez-Gaspar, news sources report. Perez-Gaspar was killed in the accident, sources say. Barnes, 56, was booked into the Palm Beach County Jail on charges of driving with a revoked license causing death and vehicular homicide. A judge ordered that he be held without bail bond. So far, no attorney appears to have spoken on Barnes’s behalf. It is also unclear whether the toddler’s family plans to file for damages.
Barnes’ driving record is not clean. He has an extensive arrest history with six separate DUI charges, two of which ended in convictions, sources say. However, in the current case, police are reportedly investigating whether a medical emergency led to the crash. Barnes has not been charged with being under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he crashed into the toddler, although he was apparently driving with a revoked license, sources say.
Even though he has not been charged with DUI in this case, Barnes’ record is still raising some eyebrows. “Nobody that has this many arrests should be behind the wheel of a car,” a Palm Beach County Sheriff spokesperson reportedly said after the accident.
According to reports, this latest incident occurred 2:30 Monday afternoon near Perez-Gaspar’s home in the 4100 block of Kirk Road. A friend of Perez-Gaspar’s mother was walking with Perez-Gaspar to a shop not far from the home. Around the same time, Barnes was southbound on Kirk Road in his 2006 GMC Sierra truck, sources say.
For reasons that are not yet known, Barnes reportedly lost control of his vehicle. It veered off the road and onto the sidewalk, where it allegedly struck Perez-Gaspar. It reportedly continued through a parking lot and into a tree after running over the toddler.
The family friend quickly called Eulalia Gaspar, the girl’s mother, to the scene. Perez-Gaspar was rushed to St. Mary’s Medical Center, where, sadly, she was pronounced dead of her injuries. Later, Gaspar appeared in the media with a picture of her and her daughter hugging only one day before the crash. “It hurts so bad to lose my daughter,” Gaspar reportedly told the press.
A roadside memorial was held after the tragic crash. Gaspar left a note at the side of the road that read “RIP baby girl, beautiful angel. Love, a mother who cares.”
Fatal car crashes are especially devastating, especially when minors are involved. Back in August, a 16-year-old Buffalo, New York girl was killed in a Broward County crash when the car she was in went off the road and struck a tree, sources report. Chase Depastino, 19, the driver, and fellow passenger Zachery Salamone were also injured. An update on the case is not currently available.
Reports say the accident occurred around 2:00 on a Tuesday morning in the 6000 block of Bayview Drive in Fort Lauderdale. The 16-year-old victim was in a car driven by Depastino with passenger Salamone, sources indicate. The car was eastbound on Bayview when the driver lost control, sources allege. The vehicle hit a curb, drove into a median, and collided with a tree; it then rolled onto its side in the middle of the eastbound lanes, sources indicate.
Sadly, the 16-year-old victim died of her injuries at the scene. Depastino sustained critical injuries and was rushed to the Broward Health Medical Center. Salamone sustained less serious injuries and was hospitalized as well.