Driver who hit and killed Alana Tamplin will not face criminal charges

The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed Friday the driver who hit and killed Alana Tamplin in a North Fort Myers crash will not face criminal charges.

Instead, FHP says they cited the driver, Mary Miller, for careless driving.

“I don’t care how you drove,” said Sarah Tamplin, Alana’s mother. “I care the fact that my daughter is not coming home, and I don’t think you should be able to either.”

Alana was hit on Durrance Road in January. She was walking back from dropping off her little sister at the bus stop.

“My husband called it. He said that they were going to let her off,” Sarah Tamplin, Alana’s mother. “And I’ve been a 100% supporter the entire time. No. They’re going to do something; they’re the law they have to. We just have to hold out hope. And he was right. They did nothing for us.”

Troopers say the driver left the scene and didn’t help Alana, but did come back shortly after.

“They basically said they never charged it criminally,” Sarah said. “The only thing they were looking at was hit-and-run. Well, because she came back, it’s not considered a hit-and-run. Because in the intent of the law, a hit-and-run means you don’t come back. But my whole premise of everything is I don’t care that you hit and ran, I care that you didn’t save my child.”

Credit: Photo shared with WINK New.

Photos show the damage to the passenger side of the vehicle, including a smashed windshield.

We’re working to get answers from FHP and the state attorney’s office.

“And now I don’t get to teach her how to drive, or her first heartbreak, or high school, or any of the things she wanted,” Sarah said. “She was so smart, and she wanted to be a school ambassador, and she wanted to show everybody what she could do. And she never got the opportunity. And it just it sucks because she had so much spirit and it was just robbed of her just in an instant.”

Attorney speaks about gray area in case

Because troopers say Milller left the scene and then returned, Scot Goldberg, a wrongful death and personal injury attorney, said it makes the case complicated.

“Where you have someone that actually left the scene and came back, it’s a little bit more of a gray area with regards to whether or not the person should be charged criminally,” Goldberg said. 

The time between impact and returns leave questions.

“Would that have made a difference in that young girl’s life?” Goldberg posed the question. 

While Alana’s loved ones will never know if that time would have changed the course of her life, Goldberg said the family still has options.

“They can file a lawsuit with regards to wrongful death of their child,” Goldberg said. 

And that decision will be up to Alana’s family and their attorneys who handle it.

Alana’s Family Demands Justice

For the last six months Alana’s friends and family have been waiting for a conclusion to the investigation.

But with Friday’s announcement, they have more questions about what happens next.

We asked Dr. David Thomas, an FGCU criminal justice professor, why Miller will only have to pay $161 as her consequence in Alana’s death.

“It’s always a process because the person is still innocent until proven guilty,” Thomas said.

Thomas said because FHP reports Miller returned to the scene after she hit Alana, it’s a more difficult case for prosecutors. He said law enforcement often presents its evidence to the state attorney’s office, where the facts of the case are reviewed and charges are recommended.

We plan to reach out the state attorney’s office Monday during hours of operation to gain answers.  

And until more explanation comes to fruition, Alana’s family wants to find answers too.

FHP said Miller has a scheduled mandatory court date, and the judge will determine the penalty.

Reporter:Brooke Shafer
Stephanie Byrne
Anika Henanger
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