1 year later, family tries to cope after hit-and-run that killed 12-year-old Alana Tamplin
Tuesday marks one year since a hit-and-run driver killed Alana Tamplin.
A memorial with flowers and letters to Alana has become a permanent feature on the side of Durrance Road.
“I mean, I still remember everything about her the last day,” said her mother, Sarah Tamplin. “I just remember her lying in the ditch. I remember her being cool already and my husband trying to give her CPR. I thought she’s got a broken leg and she was not, she was unconscious, she was going cold and she wasn’t breathing. And that sticks with me.”
The 12-year-old North Fort Myers girl died just steps away from her home, walking back from her sister’s bus stop with her best friend, Brooklyn. She is seen in a surveillance video, running for help.
“I wasn’t expecting her to be gone,” Tamplin said. “So for me, not having a chance to say goodbye is a huge takeaway. I didn’t get to tell her I loved her. I wasn’t there. I’m her mom, I’m supposed to be there.”
The pain of losing Alana is still fresh for her, and it will likely always be that way.
“If there was any way to go back in time and recreate that one moment. If I had that opportunity, what could I have done and how could I have done it,” she said.
The middle of three girls, Alana’s death left a void in the Tamplin family. They moved away from their home on Durrance Street months after the crash.
Being so close to the spot where she died proved too difficult.
But one year after her death, Sarah hopes no one will soon forget her loving, crazy, goofball kid.
“She was always playing a fool. And I want them to remember the friend, the goofy girl, and remember the heart that was behind it. That’s Alana for me,” she said.
The State did not prosecute the driver who hit her. Mary Miller, 62, took a plea deal and was fined $1,000 and given a citation. Her license was suspended for six months.
Alana’s mother says something needs to change.
“These are lives that are never going to be the same,” said Tamplin. “Not the family, not the friends. It’s something that you have to live with for the rest of your life. And I feel like the general public just doesn’t care enough to actually change how we’re doing things.”
The Tamplin family is now pushing for stricter laws and consequences for drivers who hit and kill someone.
Another little girl, Layla Aiken, died in a hit-and-run last year in Cape Coral.
Both girls’ deaths brought a movement to keep your children safe by putting benches near school bus stops.