GRAND PRAIRIE (CBSDFW.COM) – For nearly a week police in Grand Prairie had been searching for the person who hit and killed a six-year-old boy as he walked with his mother and sister. Today that person, a North Texas schoolteacher, turned herself in.
John Raidy was struck and killed by a hit and run driver on January 24. He was walking ahead of his mother, who was pushing his little sister in a stroller. The boy had bought some candy at a nearby store. Lauren Raidy, John’s mother, watched as a driver ran a red light, hit her son and carried the child on the hood for about 300 feet, stopped briefly and then took off.
According to Grand Prairie police, Tammy Lowe and her husband walked into the police headquarters around 11:30 Tuesday morning. The woman told the person at the front counter that she wanted to turn herself in. When the worker at the counter asked Lowe if there was a warrant out for her arrest she said, “No. I’m the person involved in the hit and run accident that happened on North Carrier.” Investigators later said that when they talked with the workers at the desk they said the woman was very distraught and it appeared she hadn’t slept in days.
On January 25 Grand Prairie police released several pictures and some fairly nondescript surveillance video of the hit and run vehicle. Early Tuesday morning Sergeant Eric Hansen confirmed that police had new video, from a nearby convenience store, that was being forensically enhanced in preparation for release to the media at 2 p.m. “The vehicle in the video, that we’re goona look at this afternoon, is the one that was involved in the hit and run. The actual crash is on the video,” he said.
At a press conference Tuesday afternoon Det. Lyle Gensler said the first thing investigators did was ask Lowe what type of car she drove. When she told police it was a 2008 Toyota Yaris, the same type vehicle they had been able to identify from the recently enhanced video, authorities felt she could very well be making a genuine admission. After Lowe turned herself in and was booked, police did not show the enhanced video, but made it available to the media.
Police said Lowe was “very forthcoming with information” pertaining to the deadly hit and run. She allegedly told investigators she panicked after hitting the child and was too scared to stop. The 53-year-old woman had been a certified 7th grade Social Studies teacher at Adams Middle School, but Grand Prairie ISD spokesperson Sam Buchmeyer said at the afternoon press conference that Lowe had resigned. He said she had, “Left a handwritten resignation on the principal’s desk early this morning.” Lowe had been with the Grand Prairie ISD since the 1996-1997 school year. Buchmeyer went on to say that while Lowe had been on campus since the hit and run, her behavior had been “not normal.” Her resignation letter did not mention the accident, only that she would be seeking psychiatric help.
After the Adams principal found the resignation, the school leader reflected on Lowe’s behavior over the past days and thought it best to contact a resource officer and request that they try and see if she was alright. “Anytime an employee does not show up to work there is often a wellness check and that’s nothing more than going by their residence, knocking on the door and saying, ‘Hey, is everything okay?’” explained Buchmeyer. An arrest warrant says an officer spoke to Lowe at her home. Immediately after the visit she went to Grand Prairie PD.
Detective Gensler said investigators are working to verify that Lowe is indeed the person responsible for the hit and run death. “We also had a search warrant for the car and as we speak that car it is being taken into custody. It’s being transported here to a locked down facility, so we can examine that in conjunction with the evidence that we recovered at the scene and her [Lowe's] statement to tie her into whether her statement is believable or not,” he said adding, “At this point, every indication that we have so far is that this is the lady involved in that accident and she did the right thing by turning herself in.”
Ashley Mitchell who lives across the street from Lowe, said she and her father noticed a detective at the house Tuesday afternoon. She said he was looking over the Yaris, which had been in the garage for several days.
“My father, we put two and two together, “ she said. “That’s the car on the video. When we saw them bring it out, yep, that’s it, that’s the car.”
Hours before Lowe turned herself in Sgt. Hansen said, “What we really hope to happen is that the person that was actually involved in this crash it will make them think that, ‘Wow. Even though I didn’t think something happened, I guess something really did happen.’ As outrageous as that sounds that is within the realm of possibility.”
Lowe has been charged with Failure to Stop and Render Aid and is being held in the Grand Prairie City Jail on $100,000 bond, but police said she will face additional charges including one for Manslaughter.
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