Jessica Raubenolt was out for a walk with her 21-month-old daughter, just trying to cross Bayshore Boulevard in Tampa when she was hit by a car and killed.
Raubenolt’s daugher Lillia initially survived the crash but died later in the hospital.
A search warrant from Tampa police obtained by News Channel 8 shows several witnesses told police they saw two cars speeding up Bayshore before the crash.
More than one witnesses adamantly told police the cars were racing before the crash.
One witness described hearing the sound of the exhaust of one of the cars as it accelerated seconds before the crash.
Tampa police arrested Cameron Herrin, the driver of the 2018 Mustang that hit Raubenolt and her daughter and John Barrineau, the driver of a Nissan that witnesses say was racing the Mustang.
One witness describes seeing both cars swerve to avoid the impact, but then seeing the victim fly through the air.
Mike Cherup spent 34 years with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s office and 25 of those years as a traffic homicide investigator.
Cherup is not involved in this investigation, but says information recovered from a data recorder that comes with a 2018 Ford Mustang could help investigators in this case.
“The basic data is is obviously the vehicle speed for up to five seconds ’til the point of impact, whether or not the brakes were applied,” said Cherup.
The search warrants in the case indicate police are asking to obtain information from the Mustang’s data recorder, but does not indicate if any information can be recovered.
Cherup says the data recorder is tied in with the cars air bag deployment system and in many pedestrian cases the impact is not sufficient to trigger the recording device, but he believes seeking the information is just part of basic police work.
“It’s a part of a good investigation. If you know the data may be there, it behooves you to go get that data and make sure. If it’s not there, it’s not there, but if you don’t check you don’t know,” said Cherup.
In this case, Cherup expects investigators will seek security camera video to back up witness statements.
“In this type of case definitely your witness statements are going to be very important, any video that occurred back down along Bayshore. I would be pounding on doors trying to find more video,” said Cherup.