A 4-year-old Tennessee girl was tragically killed in a car crash when she was struck by a metal utility pole after her allegedly drunk father drove off the road, according to WBIR. On the afternoon of Monday, May 2, 40-year-old Donald E. Taylor of Knoxville was traveling in his 1998 Chevrolet Van with two daughters, Alleeah Taylor, 4, and Natalie Taylor, 8, when he suddenly veered off the road, crashing into a metal utility pole and a mailbox in the 4900 block of Millertown Pike.
Reports say Natalie was sitting in a lawn chair between the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat when the car crash took place, causing her little body to be thrown into the windshield. Her sister, Alleeah, who was sitting in the passenger’s seat, was struck by the metal utility pole.
— WATE 6 On Your Side (@6News) May 3, 2016
Both Alleeah and Natalie sustained life-threatening injuries during the car crash, but their allegedly drunk father was not hurt during the accident. In lieu of seeking medical attention for his two injured children, he continued driving a fifth of a mile until he was forcibly stopped by police near I-640.
When Knoxville police officials questioned Donald at the scene, he admitted to drinking a “six-pack of beer before getting behind the wheel” with his two daughters in the vehicle. According to WATE 6 On Your Side, after failing a field sobriety test, Donald was arrested.
Meanwhile, his daughters were transferred to the University of Tennessee medical center, where Alleeah succumbed to her injuries the following day. Natalie was listed in critical condition.
Knoxville Police Department Capt. Bob Wooldridge stated that the accident was an example of why no one should drive while under the influence.
He said, “It shows exactly why because tragic lives were lost by someone who chose to drink and drive.”
Relatives were shocked after learning Donald was arrested for drinking and driving while his two daughters were in the vehicle, likely causing him to veer off the road and crash into a metal utility pole and a mailbox.
His neighbor Thomas Phelps said, “You wouldn’t think that he would risk drinking and driving with those kids because he was always with his kids and had them playing with them and took well good care of them.”
After Donald’s family learned of the fatal car crash, they stated that his actions were out of character and that he was a loving father who would do anything for his children.
Kathey Stout, who is Donald’s aunt, said that “he would give his life right now for his family. He really would. He’d take them himself down to the park so they could play, take them to the duck pond or whatever they wanted to do and he could spend time with them.”
She went on to say that she could never consider her nephew an alcoholic.
“He just started really drinking after he lost his dad and mother almost eight months apart,” said Stout.
Donald’s cousin added that “everybody always had special feelings toward those kids anyway because they were his. They weren’t really supposed to have children and then they had two.” He went on to say that before Donald and his wife had children, they stepped in and “raised two family members as his own.”
“I know there’s one person that’s hurting even more than I am, and that’s him. I know he’s hurting. He’s hurting bad.”
Knoxville Police: Four-year-old passed away after DUI crash involving her father https://t.co/Ao3D4h9gIB
— Local 8 News (@wvlt) May 3, 2016
After the car crash that killed 4-year-old Alleeah and critically injured her older sister Natalie, Donald Taylor was arrested and is “facing charges for DUI, aggravated assault, leaving the scene of an accident, and driving without insurance.” Investigators say that he could be facing more charges.
He is currently being held in the county jail on a $62,000 bond, and an investigation is underway.
[Image via Knox County Sheriff’s Department]