Deputy tearfully recalls night 11-year-old was killed
Feb 11, 2010 04:11 PM CST
Ron Killings is charged with reckless homicide in the death of Lakeisha White.
11-year-old Lakeisha White died on the night of July 17, 2008.
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Ron Killings, the former Rutherford County sheriff's detective accused in the July 2008 traffic death of 11-year-old girl Lakeisha White, took the witness stand Thursday in his own defense.
On the night of the accident, Killings was on his way to meet Detective Steve Brown, who was doing follow up work on an aggravated burglary.
Moments before his cruiser struck White, Killings testified he received a Nextel chirp from Detective Brown, who told him to "step it up."
Killings told the courtroom to him that meant to "get there in a hurry." He continued, "Get there as quick as I can without my blue lights, without by siren going."
He later explained, "If I would have activated my lights, I would have spooked the suspects Detective Brown was with, which could have been him in harms way, or others in harms way."
The former deputy said he knew Detective Brown was alone on the particular case he was working and wanted to get there as soon as possible.
He said he had just passed through a red light and had "an open lane."
"There were no cars in front of me, I just went through that red light, there were no cars behind me, I was focused on the road," he recalled.
Killings said he sped up and the next thing he knew, his airbag exploded.
"When my airbag exploded I saw a little girl's face looking at me," he tearfully recalled. "There was dust everywhere and at that time I got on my two-way radio, called dispatch and told them I had just hit a little girl."
Killings told the jury he immediately got out of the car and ran to the front of his car. When she wasn't in the front, he ran to the back. He said he then realized she was several feet away, near a mailbox.
"I immediately ran over to her, and checked for a pulse. I was yelling, ‘is she okay, is she okay,' I was trying to find out if she was okay," he recalled. "My car was up a little bit from where the body was and I ran back to my truck, tried to find my medical bag, popped my trunk, I was digging through my trunk for the medical bag, I couldn't find it. I ran back to her again, people started coming out."
Killings said he went back to his patrol car, pulled out his radio and radioed for an ambulance.
He said he didn't know whether the people emerging from the homes knew the little girl so he ran to the nearest home in the direction in which he thought White came from.
"At that point I ran across the street because I knew that from my windshield, I figured she came from this side of the car," he said. "I went to the house across the street. I was banging on the door because I thought somebody in there would know who she was."
Realizing his truck was still open and he had guns inside, Killings said he retreated to his car, pulled his SWAT vest out of his truck, and took it over to where White was lying.
He said, "I covered her up. I covered her body up, because her shirt was up."
Killings said he stayed by White's side but knew there was nothing he could do.
"I knew I couldn't do anything for her," he said. "I didn't want to do CPR because I knew she had some body damage. I knew she had damage."
On Wednesday, a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer who investigated the crash testified Killings was traveling 62-miles-per-hour at the time of impact and White was hit "mid-stride", as if she was running.
The officer also said White's body was thrown 150 feet from the point of impact.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:07 PM EDT2013-05-22 16:07:37 GMT
The Oklahoma medical examiner's office says two infants are among 24 people killed by the tornado that ripped across the Oklahoma City area this week. Nashville's News 2 has a crew in Oklahoma.More >>
The Oklahoma medical examiner's office says two infants are among 24 people killed by the tornado that ripped across the Oklahoma City area this week. Nashville's News 2 has a crew in Oklahoma. More >>