DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – There was a surprising development Tuesday morning at the trial for a former Grand Prairie teacher who has been accused in a hit-and-run incident. Tammy Lowe is charged with manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid in a crash that killed a 6-year-old boy back in January 2013.
The trial began on Tuesday morning in Dallas with Lowe changing her plea to one of the charges. As expected, she pleaded not guilty to the charge of manslaughter. But she pleaded guilty to failing to stop her vehicle and remain at the scene.
Lowe has been accused of causing the death of 6-year-old first-grader John Raidy. He was struck by a vehicle while he, his mother and his younger sister were crossing the street in a crosswalk. Raidy’s mother was pushing the sister in a stroller. Authorities said that the driver ran a red light, hit Raidy and carried him on the hood of the car for about 300 feet. The car stopped briefly before speeding away from the scene.
The case was an area-wide mystery for several days. Police in Grand Prairie released video of the car leaving the scene, hoping that someone could help identify the driver. Lowe came forward and turned herself in to authorities nearly a week later.
Despite her one guilty plea, the 54-year-old suspect still faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of manslaughter.
The first person to take the witness stand on Tuesday morning was the young victim’s mother. Lauren Raidy said that she was heading home from the store with her kids when the crash happened. She said that they were halfway across the street, and their light was green. “I told John we had to hurry and he started running faster,” Lauren Raidy testified through tears. “I heard the horn, the car. I looked up — the light was still red — and John, heard him get hit.”
Heidi Cano also testified that the car was traveling at a high rate of speed, and she saw it strike the child.
The defendant quit her teaching job and has not yet commented on what happened that day. Through her attorney, she issued an apology last year.
Lowe remained quiet during the jury selection portion of the trial on Monday. Her attorney said that there is more to this case than what the police and prosecution have claimed. The trial is expected to last throughout the week.
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