A father was charged for letting his 12-year-old daughter drive an SUV resulting in the deaths of a man and a dog in a parking lot.

Thomas Mejia Tol, from Houston, Texas allowed the girl to operate the motor vehicle with no driving experience much less a license with a two-year-old in the back. He has since been charged with criminally negligent homicide and endangering a child.

His daughter was driving a black Ford Explorer within an apartment complex car park in Fountain View, Houston this past Friday. She pulled forward from a parking space as a man, Enrique Vasquez was walking by with his dogs. The child then pressed the accelerator, and the vehicle lurched forward, hitting the man and one of his dogs before being stopped by a tree.

First responders at the scene could not save Vasquez and his dog.

Police subsequently arrested the girl’s father and added there was a two-year-old inside the vehicle that would have been harmed. Despite the fact she was strapped into the correct seating for her age, the whole incident received a lot of condemnation from officials.

Upon questioning, Mejia told the authorities he was the one behind the wheel of the vehicle, but eyewitnesses and video footage disproved this.

His 12-year-old daughter remains unnamed, though she confessed to officers that her father had let her drive so that she could practice.

Lynn Nguyen, of the Harris County District Attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Unit, told media outlets the daughter’s age was too young to let someone drive even if the father was in the passenger seat.

Sean Teare of the same unit claimed that it was not okay to let a child drive within a populated place. The sentiment was that if one were going to teach a young person to drive, then an abandoned space would be the best option. They advised going somewhere where there would not be a potential of causing harm to others.

Witnesses allegedly saw officers giving the girl a sobriety test. One woman told the ABC the police treated her as if she were drunk. They were wondering why the police were treating her in such a manner, yet she is a child.

Vasquez’s brother, Fernando, told media outlets he believed the fault laid with the father of the daughter. It would appear public sentiment is in agreement with the brother’s opinion.

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