LAKE WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – A year has passed since the tragic death of a 7-year-old girl who was run down by an out-of-control driver as she walked out of a Target store, holding her mother’s hand.
Vincent Martinez was behind the wheel of a truck when he struck four people in front of a Ross store, then kept driving and hit two more, including Savannah Deegear, who died at the scene.
The family had just gone back to school shopping.
One year later, friends and family honored the memory of the little girl by releasing balloons into the sky.
“We love her and miss her with all our hearts,” said Mark Deegear, Savannah’s father. It’s been a tough year for the family, despite unconditional support from loved ones.
The family built a memorial garden in Savannah’s name and even received a personal invitation from Jerry Jones to attend a Cowboys game.
Mark Deegear had planned to take Savannah on a daddy-daughter date to a Cowboys pre-season game before she was killed. Jones invited the family to the stadium and personally greeted the family, then gifted them a suite to watch the game.
“He really cared about our family,” Deegear said.
But from tragedy, the seeds of a friendship were planted.
“We have a beautiful friend that we’ve met, her name is Shannon Norton. She, uh, she lost her son in Springtown a couple of months ago,” said Annetta Deegear, Savannah’s mother.
In May, 10-year-old Haven Norton was run over by a school bus, as his mother watched from their front porch.
“We decided that we wanted to help and we felt like we needed to share our story with her because we know what she’s going through,” Mark Deegear said.
From their common experience, the families have forged an unbreakable bond and have helped lead each other down a healing path.
“We just needed to lean on each other,” Annetta Deegear said. “Now we are wonderful friends and she’s with us here today.” One year after Savannah’s death, the playful, loving spirit of the little girl whose life was tragically cut short, is still very much alive.
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