FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Mark Deegear had just taken his seven-year-old daughter Savannah, back to school shopping. One their way, the two bought a new Dallas Cowboys cheerleading outfit she wanted to wear on a daddy-daughter date to an upcoming preseason Cowboys game.
The outfit will never be worn.
Savannah was killed before her father’s eyes in a horrific crash in front of a Lake Worth Target store.
Vincent Martinez was behind the wheel of a truck that plowed through a busy shopping center parking lot, hitting a total of six people at two different crash scenes.
Martinez first hit four people in front of a Ross department store, including a 25-year-old woman, a 40-year-old woman and two children, ages four and five. All were transported to local hospitals.
Seconds later, Martinez sped down the parking lot and hit two more children, including Savannah Deegear, who died a short time later.
The horrifying crash was caught on surveillance cameras.
Mark Deegear said he, his wife and daughter were at Target buying a gift for a friend’s birthday party. The video shows Deegear’s wife holding Savannah’s hand as they walk out the front doors of the store. A family of four is walking two feet in front of them.
“I heard this noise and I look over to the left of my shoulder and there was a truck what was swerving around,” Deegear said. “I told my wife I said get back, get out of the way.”
The video shows the truck swerve between two cars before losing control. The families are seen trying to get out of the way of the fast moving truck, but Savannah is swept out of her mother’s hand and another child, nine-year-old Jianna Fariaf, is also hit.
“I see my daughter laying there so I picked her up I couldn’t leave her on the hot pavement,” Deegear said. “I brought her in Target and set her inside target, calling 911 asking people to please help.”
Savannah was airlifted to Cook Children’s Hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later.
Deegear said he had just been talking to the Target clerk, telling her to live life to the fullest.
“Life is so short and people don’t realize it at all. Seven years old, she loved everybody, she had so many friends,” Deegear said about his daughter.
The youngest of four children, Savannah Deegear, was known in her family as a “Daddy’s girl.”
Mark Deegear says he holds no anger toward the driver of the vehicle, who police say may have suffered a diabetic emergency during the crash.
“I mean, it’s not going to bring Savannah back,” he said. “She is always going to be special in our hearts, a loving kid that loved life. She lived it to the fullest.”
The unworn Dallas Cowboys cheerleading outfit remains on the family’s dining room table, along with a lock of Savannah’s brown hair, a medal she won at school and the family’s favorite pictures of her.
If there is a lesson in this tragic story, for this grieving father it’s this:“I just know people need to realize how much they need to love on their kids and tell them how much they love them,” Deegear said.
Lake Worth police are awaiting the results of a medical evaluation on Vincent Martinez. With the help of the District Attorney’s office they will decide whether to press charges.
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