The teen driver of an SUV that crashed into a Florida playground, killing one child and seriously injuring another, has been identified.
WINK News reports that the motorist behind the fatal crash has been identified as Kiara Morant, 18, of Arcadia. According to the report, Morant had initially been charged only with driving without a valid license, and was released from jail. A WINK News reporter said in a Twitter post Friday morning that Morant has been booked back into jail with upgraded charges of a crash causing death.
The reporter also identified the girl who died as Maleena Valdez.
JUST IN: Kiara Morant was booked back into Jail this morning. She is the woman who drove into a playground killing a little girl and injuring another. After 4-year-old Maleena Valdez died, Morant’s charges were upgraded to driving w/out a license & crash causing death @winknews pic.twitter.com/UpeKNjzzdi
— Dannielle Garcia WINK News (@Dannielle_Garci) March 18, 2022
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Valdez, 4, died after being hit by the vehicle that crashed through fencing at the Arcadia playground this week. A 5-year-old girl was also hospitalized with serious injuries. According to the news station, Maleena Valdez died on her mother’s birthday.
A witness told WINK News that they heard children screaming, and inititally did not believe the sounds were coming from the daycare, right behind her home.
“Kids screaming and I said, ‘Well, it could be coming from our pool,’ but it was so many screams of so many kids and everything that I thought well you know there’s no way it could be coming from the pool,” neighbor Becky Stidham told the news station.
“It’s a pretty traumatic episode for all the kids seeing a vehicle just come right at them.”
CrimeOnline will provide further updates when more information is available.
[Feature image: Family photo/WINK News]