PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — No criminal charges will be filed in the Panama City Beach crash that killed two children, prosecutors announced Friday.
On December 4th, 2020, Scott Donaldson was driving his truck westbound on Highway 98 when he crashed through the fence of the Coconut Creek Family Fun Park. 4-year-old Baylor Kirchgessner and his sister 6-year-old Addie Kirchgessner were killed.
Investigators conducted a thorough review of the case but ultimately determined that Donaldson had a seizure that caused the crash and that criminal charges could not be justified. Donaldson was taking medication for his neurological condition and his toxicology showed that he had taken the appropriate amount that day, said State Attorney Larry Basford.
Basford added that Donaldson had visited his doctor just a few days before the crash and the doctor confirmed that he was “perfectly fit” to carry on with his routine activities, including driving.
“We took our time to reach the right decision in this case,” Basford said.
He also offered condolences to Baylor and Addie’s parents.
“Most of us have children. This is a parent’s worst nightmare,” Basford said. “I cannot begin to comprehend the grief and the loss experienced by the parents of these two children. But I can assure the magnitude of this tragedy was not lost on us. I continue to hold the parents in my prayers.”
At times the State Attorney’s Office and the Panama City Beach police department were criticized for the amount of time it took to close the investigation.
“We can do this right or we can do this fast. We will choose accuracy over speed every time,” said J.R. Talamantez, the chief of the Panama City Beach Police Department. “Not every tragedy is a criminal case. We applied every bit of our heart to this investigation.”
Basford said that despite this tragedy Donaldson could apply to have his driving privileges reinstated next week.
“And our office will not be able to prevent that,” Basford said. He added that he is petitioning state leaders to change the law involving drivers who are prone to have seizures.