WINTER HAVEN, FL (WFLA) — She came to the door of the roadside motel in Winter Haven looking disheveled and disoriented. Her eyes were bloodshot, and her hands were shaking. Regina Shelton looked dazed as she spoke exclusively to News Channel 8 about the shocking allegations she’s facing.
Witnesses claim they saw Regina Shelton on Wednesday chugging a beer behind the wheel when she allegedly ran over 5-year-old Jasira Santos. The little girl was on a bicycle in an Auburndale neighborhood, a place she rides every day.
Those who saw the horrific incident say Shelton backed up to try to leave the scene of the accident. However, she went nowhere fast. A man who works nearby raced over and stopped Shelton by ripping the keys out of her ignition in her Jeep.
News Channel 8 tracked down Shelton Thursday night at a motel. She closed her eyes and covered her face, saying, “I don’t know what to say. I’m scared to say anything. Y’all are making me out to be a monster. My concern is this little girl. I’m thinking about this little girl.”
We asked her about the accusations involving her daughter, Shelton’s mother told News Channel 8 that Regina was a mess, in and out of rehab many times. Shelton’s mother said was more concerned about the little girl who is fighting for her life at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa. “I have been praying day and night about that little girl. I feel terrible for that child. I don’t know what to tell you about my daughter. This is been going on for a long time. I’m raising her son,” she said.
Shelton is no stranger to law-enforcement. She has been to the Polk County jail 12 times, with a variety of arrests including prostitution and possession of meth. She has not been charged with any crime in this current case.
She was taken to the hospital in Winter Haven where blood was drawn immediately after the accident. The blood sample has been sent to FDLE for analysis. After the results come back, which could take up to two months, prosecutors will then make a determination on what charges, if any, this woman will face. Detectives plan to ask FDL E to try and speed up the process, so that the results come back sooner.
Meanwhile, police have filed the proper paperwork to have Shelton’s license re-examined. They tell News Channel 8 they will be keeping an eye on her in Polk County.
The 5-year-old girl at the heart of this case was airlifted from Auburndale to Tampa for emergency surgery on Wednesday. She has been in critical condition for the past 48 hours, according to police. Jasira suffered a severe head injury in the accident, and her right arm is completely crushed, WFLA learned. Her parents have been by their child’s side, hoping and praying for a speedy recovery.
Many people are asking why isn’t Shelton behind bars? Since her blood work has not returned, prosecutors cannot see proof of her blood alcohol level from that day. Until they do, no charges will be filed.
Defense attorney Kevin Hayeslett admits, “This is a very emotional case. But, police can’t act on emotion,” he said. Hayslett explained that Auburndale detectives are being methodical about this case, taking time to make the strongest case possible. “The outrage would be bigger if they didn’t do their jobs and use all the tools they have.”