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Arrest made in fatal bus stop hit-and-run

By Staff | May 23, 2019

*Update: Hetherington’s bail has been posted and he is expected to be released from Lee County Jail this afternoon. His scheduled trial date is June 24.

*Update: Hetherington’s bond for all four charges has been set and totals $133,000. He remains in Lee County Jail as of 11 a.m. Friday morning.

An arrest has been made in a fatal hit-and-run that resulted in the death of an 8-year-old child waiting for her school bus.

Logan Tyler Hetherington, 19, of 537 S.E. 35th St., was arrested on a warrant Thursday during a traffic stop and has been charged in connection with the March 28 death of Layla Aiken, the Cape Coral Police Department announced at a late afternoon press conference.

He was charged with leaving the scene of a traffic crash with a fatality, vehicular homicide, possession of cannabis under 20 grams and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police say Hetherington was driving a red 2012 Dodge Ram pick-up truck south on Northeast 3rd Avenue shortly after 6 a.m. the day of the crash. When he reportedly approached the intersection of Northeast 19th Terrace, he took a sharp left turn, cutting across the northeast corner of the intersection, outside of the lane of travel and entered the westbound lane traveling eastbound.

As he made his was across the northeast corner of the intersection, his left side tires left the roadway and traveled onto the grass, into the dirt shoulder and striking Layla, who had her back to traffic, CCPD Chief David Newlan said.

CCPD reported that the street light on the northeast corner where Layla was hit was on and the illumination was such that the child “would have been visible to an alert and careful driver.”

According to police, her brothers, one standing near Layla in the grass, the other walking around the roadway on Northeast 3rd Ave, also should have been visible.

Hetherington continued down the street, failing to stop, Newlan added.

Several other in-depth investigative techniques Newlan said were utilized before a warrant request was filed with the State Attorney’s Office included DNA testing, search warrants on electronic devices, witness interviews and surveillance footage review.

“Several video surveillance cameras assisted with the investigation,” Newlan said.

“As a reminder, please take precaution and obey all traffic laws,” Newlan continued. “This was a very tragic incident. Our children are out there at bus stops — walking to and from school — please stay alert when driving on our streets. Any violator of our traffic laws, especially hit-and-run, will not be tolerated. We will do anything within our legal guidelines to find you and arrest you.”

CCPD spokesperson Master Sgt. Allan Kolak said it is unclear if Hetherington was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the incident, but that 2.7 grams of cannabis, a scale and a grinder was found in the suspect’s truck.

Kolak also said that surveillance from near-by residential houses played a large role in establishing the case to charge Hetherington.

Kolak said that he did check his vehicle for damage once arriving at ABC Supply Co Inc, his place of employment, which was where Hetherington was reportedly headed that morning.

Both Newlan and Kolak praised the CCPD Major Crash Investigation Unit, which worked diligently to piece the case together.

“The officers definitely wanted to make sure there was closure,” said Kolak.

Layla’s death spurred both a community and city/school district effort to improve safety for children waiting at bus stops.

On Monday, the city of Cape Coral discussed sidewalk plan options as well as lighting, bus stop seating and signage.

Meanwhile, community volunteers led by Cape Coral Rotary and Kiwanis clubs and a grass-roots group called Benches For Our Babes, have launched drives to place benches and picnic tables, respectively, at school bus stops in Cape Coral and elsewhere in Lee County. Kiwanis and Rotary have each pledged $50,000 towards the benches effort and Benches For Our Babes, with the help of Lowes and numerous volunteers, have places hundreds of picnic tables at stops.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj