Richard Benton was charged with a DUI, after his 12-year-old daughter, Shamera Harris, posed to take a picture after her first date with a boy next to the family’s SUV which had rolled backward striking the girl, dragging her 50 to 60 feet, then smashing into a tree, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
The girl died of her injuries.
The 53-year-old told Stanton Heights, Pa., told police he thought his Ford Explorer was in park when he exited the vehicle to take his daughter’s picture. Harris’ mom, Carla, told investigators she did not know Benton had been drinking and that he was “messing around with the gear shifter” before he got out to take his daughter’s picture after dropping off her date. According to Carla, the vehicle just “took off at full speed,” dragging her only child along with it. Harris told police she tried to stop the vehicle but was unsuccessful.
“I ran to pull her out and gave her CPR and she was already gone. I tried. I prayed over her,” Carla told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Police say Benton smelled as if he had been drinking alcohol. A police report states that Benton had watery/glassy eyes, slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet. Officers also report that the man refused to take a breath test and field sobriety tests on the scene. Benton, who was handcuffed at the scene and taken down to a police station, reportedly refused further sobriety tests and demanded to contact an attorney. After being charged with the DUI, police escorted Benton to a hospital facility to be treated for minor injuries before he was placed at the county jail.
He was released on Monday after posting bail and could face additional charges if police believe he was responsible for Harris’ death.