Witness grabs keys from Polk driver who struck child with SUV

Efrain Crespo was working nearby when he heard the sister of the victim scream that the child had been struck. Crespo ran toward the commotion to find 35-year-old Regina Shelton trying to leave the scene.

AUBURNDALE, FL (WFLA) – A little girl is fighting for her life, after being hit by an SUV Wednesday in Auburndale. The driver is walking free.  Witnesses claim she was chugging a beer behind the wheel.

One witness is getting a lot of praise for his quick thinking.  Efrain Crespo was working nearby when he heard the sister of the victim scream that the child had been struck.  Crespo ran toward the commotion to find 35-year-old Regina Shelton trying to leave the scene.

“The mother said, ‘Hey, she’s trying to leave,’ and the passenger door was open I don’t know why- I just went inside- grabbed the key out from her. Just put it in my pocket until the cops came,” Crespo said.

Shelton, who had just hit and dragged five-year-old Jasira Santos then did something Crespo still can’t believe.

“She just opened the door, popped the beer and went like that- 16 ounce,” Crespo said.

Crespo isn’t the only one on the scene who noticed Shelton’s strange behavior and suspected she was drunk behind the wheel.  “Slumped over with her head down. Not really paying attention or aware anybody was around her,” Patrick Flewellen.

Now everyone’s thoughts have shifted to 5-year-old Jasira, who Thursday was still in critical condition.  “All night long.  Just praying for her to be alive,” Crespo said.

“My prayer is that she soon recovers,” neighbor Mary Jackson said.

She’s a little girl who’s earned a reputation for brightening the days of those she passes.

“She was a sweet little girl.  She always smiled ….and I just hate that it happened to her,” Jackson said.

The driver of that car has a history of arrests in Polk County but has not been charged in this case.  Police said they’re waiting on toxicology results, which could take two months.

The manager of the hotel where she stays said she came home Wednesday night.  Police said she has a lot of family around and they don’t have much concern about finding her when they need to.

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