No charges expected for driver in crash that killed 2 Kentucky children in Florida
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE/WJHG/WECP) - Florida State Attorney Larry Basford announced that no criminal charges are expected for a driver who crashed at a Panama City Beach mini golf course and killed two Louisville children.
The announcement was made on Friday during a news conference by the state attorney and Panama City Beach Police, WJHG reported.
On Dec. 4, 2020, 4-year-old Baylor Kirchgessner and 6-year-old Addie Kirchgessner were struck by a truck while playing mini golf at the Coconut Creek Family Fun Park in Panama City Beach.
Police said the driver, Scott Donaldson, was driving a vehicle on Highway 98 when he crashed into the grounds of Coconut Creek. After a year of review, officials said there was insufficient evidence to charge Donaldson in the crash.
“As law enforcement officers we have to make the choice, we can do this right or we can do this fast,” Panama City Beach Police Chief J.R. Talamantez said. “We will choose accuracy over speed every time.”
Witnesses told police Donaldson was “experiencing seizure-like symptoms” after the crash, and then had an epileptic seizure after being taken to the hospital.
“An analysis of his telephone records, his cell phone records, reveal that he was not texting or talking at the time of the crash,” Basford said. “Eyewitness statements who observed Donaldson’s driving immediately before the crash indicate that he was not speeding or driving erratically.”
Basford said Donaldson had a history of epilepsy for over 20 years and had three prior crashes that were caused by seizures, according to WJHG.
“After each crash, there is a Florida administrative code that deals with seizures under the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles that he (Donaldson) can apply to have his driving privileges reinstated to the Medical Advisory Board and he did each time,” State Attorney’s Office Chief Prosecutor Mark Graham said.
Currently, Donaldson’s driving privileges have been revoked, but Donaldson could apply to reinstate his license next week under Florida’s current law. The state attorney said he is working to get his license permanently revoked due to his history.
“I cannot begin to comprehend the grief and the loss experienced by the parents of these two children,” Basford said. “But I can assure the magnitude of this tragedy was not lost on us. I continue to hold the parents in my prayers.”
Copyright 2022 WAVE. All rights reserved.