Cops: Girl on First Date Killed by Dad's Car

Shamera Harris got out of her dad's SUV when it began rolling backwards

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 24, 2014 3:25 PM CST

(Newser) – A 12-year-old Pittsburgh girl died on her first date last night when her father's car dragged her about 50 feet and slammed into a tree, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports. The girl, Shamera Harris, got out of her father's SUV so her parents could snap a photo of her and her date, but the vehicle began rolling backwards. Shamera's dad, 53-year-old Richard Benton, was "messing around with the gear shifter" before exiting the vehicle, according to the girl's mom, Carla Harris. "He thought the vehicle was in park," said a police sergeant. "In fact, it must have been out of gear and went over her, dragging her down the hill and then crashing into a yard."

Shamera's parents had picked up her and her date at Waterworks Mall and drove them back to the boy's place when tragedy struck. Paramedics arrived and tried to resuscitate the girl but she "wasn't moving," a neighbor told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Police say Benton, who was charged with a DUI, smelled of booze and had "slurred speech and glassy, watery eyes." He refused a field sobriety test on the scene and a chemical test of his breath while in custody, and asked to see an attorney. "If there's reason to believe he's responsible for this girl's death, then there will be charges," said a lieutenant. "It's one of those things where you have to wait and see."

  (Shutterstock)
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