Cape Coral Police Chief David Newlan announced during a news conference Thursday that an arrest has been made in the hit-and-run death of 8-year-old Layla Aiken.
Logan Hetherington, 19, was arrested and faces charges of Leaving Scene of a Traffic Crash with Fatality; Vehicular Homicide; Possession of Cannabis and Drug Paraphernalia.
Layla died after she was hit by a Dodge Ram pickup truck while waiting for her school bus on March 25.
“loved her so much,” said Glenn Aiken, Layla’s dad. “It was rough, and I’m glad this part of it is over. No more waiting.”
According to police, at 6:18 a.m., Layla was sitting in the grass with her back to the road near a stop sign and street light pole. She was waiting for the arrival of her school bus.
Police say they believe the street lighting where Layla was should have made her clearly visible to “an alert and careful driver” if they drove south along NE 3rd Avenue from the bridge.
As Hetherington neared NE 19th Terrace, he turned sharply to the left, cutting across the northeast corner of the intersection outside of his lane and went into the westbound lane traveling east. The pickup truck’s left side tires left the roadway and traveled onto the grass and dirt shoulder toward Layla.
Layla was struck by the truck police say Hetherington was driving, but he continued without stopping.
Aiken’s father, Glenn Aiken, told WINK News her two 9-year-old brothers watched her get hit by the suspected truck that never stopped.
“We think about her all the time,” Glen said. “She was such a perfect child.”
Police say Hetherington could be seen on surveillance video checking his truck for damage after the incident.
Layla’s friend, Camila Mejia, remembers her and remembersthe best friend she made in their Cape Coral neighborhood.
”I felt sad that she was gone,” Mejia said. ”We would ride our bikes together and play, and she would show us cool stuff on her bike, like she could play music.”
Aiken was a second-grade student at Trafalgar Elementary School.
Many are asking why it took so long to make an arrest.
To prove the crime of Leaving the Scene of An Accident or Crash at trial, the State of Florida must establish the following four factual elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- The defendant was the driver of a vehicle involved in a crash resulting in injury to or death of any person, or resulting in property damage to another person;
- The defendant knew or should have known that he or she was involved in a crash;
- The defendant knew or should have known of the injury to or death of the other person, or of the property damage caused to another;
- The defendant willfully failed to stop at the scene of the crash, or as close to the crash as possible, and failed to remain there until he or she had given identifying information to the other driver, occupant, person attending vehicle, or investigating police officer, or the defendant failed to render “reasonable assistance” to the injured person if such treatment appeared to be necessary or was requested by the injured person.
Watch the CCPD news conference below.
Layla’s dad said Hetherington’s family is also dealing with a loss, as their 19-year-old sits in jail. Glenn said, as we wait for the outcome of the charges he faces, he is praying for Hetherington’s family as well.
“My son, he’s been taking it really hard,” Glenn said. “It’s been hard on him. We are just taking it day at a time. We are happy. It’s closure for sure.”
Hetherington will face a judge for his first court appearance Friday.