ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) — Francis Simpson is grieving the loss of her 13-year-old son Ethan Martin.
Police said Ethan was struck and killed by a motorcycle after his father, Johnny Martin, took him to an illegal racing meet on 28th Street North near 110th Ave North in St. Petersburg on Jan 28. Johnny Martin was arrested Wednesday and charged with child neglect resulting in death.
It was a moment that has changed Ethan’s family forever.
“I feel like they took him from me so fast,” his mother said.
“I have to see my little one,” Simpson added. “He asks me about his brother and what I have to tell him is, well, your brother is sleeping right now.”
According to police, Ethan was walking toward a crowd gathered near the intersection when he walked into the street and was hit by a motorcycle traveling at a high rate of speed.
“A motorcycle did what we call an exhibition of speed,” said Sgt. Michael Schade with the St. Petersburg Police Department. “He was at a stopped position, launched speeding southbound on 28th street in excess of 100 mph.”
“A 13-year-old crossed the street in front of him,” Schade continued. “He hit the 13-year-old and killed him.”
“We’ve arrested the father of the 13-year-old who was killed for child neglect and we cited him for being a spectator of a street racing event,” he added.
Schade said police have been cracking down on illegal street racing.
“These are extremely dangerous events these people are doing and we want to get the message out there that we’re going to be out there,” he said. “We’re going to enforce the laws related to street racing.”
“Don’t do it,” he continued. “We don’t want anyone else suffering the tragedy that this family is suffering as a result of these actions.”
Police said Johnny Martin was also cited for being a spectator of the race. He was booked into the Pinellas County Jail, where he was being held on a $10,000 bond.
Police said the investigation is ongoing with more arrests pending.
“We’re going to miss him a lot,” Simpson said of her son. “Believe me, everywhere I go, I have memories of him.”
“It’s hard when he is around the house and doesn’t see him,” she continued.