A Houston man was charged with negligent homicide and endangering a child Friday after police say his 12-year-old daughter drove an SUV into a man and his dog and killed them both.
Prosecutors say Tomas Mejia, 42, was charged with allowing a "child to drive a motor vehicle without a driver's license and no driving experience." Each indictment has a prison term of up to two years in prison.
Police say Mejia allowed his daughter to drive a black Ford Explorer in the parking lot of an apartment complex while Enrique Vazquez, 46, was walking his dogs in the area. Investigators say the girl hit the accelerator and hit Vazquez, one of his dogs and a tree. Vazquez was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics and the dog that was killed later died.
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"You can't let a toddler run in a populated place," said Sean Teare, head of the Harris County District Attorney's Office for the KPRC. "It's a tragic crash. It's a tragic event and happens all too often in our society. "
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" It's never ok to let a 12-year-old drive a car, " Lynn Nguyen, with Harris County District Attorney's Vehicle Crimes unit, told the outlet: "Twelve years old is far too young even if a parent is in the seat."
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Mejia was arrested, then charged and appeared in court for the first time on Friday night.