Fort Worth

Woman arrested in 2015 accident that killed child, great-grandmother

London Pena, 6, died in an Aug. 3, 2015 car crash. A woman has been arrested in connection with the wreck.
London Pena, 6, died in an Aug. 3, 2015 car crash. A woman has been arrested in connection with the wreck. Courtesy

A woman has been arrested in a 2015 traffic accident on West Loop 820 in which a 6-year-old girl and her great-grandmother died.

Patricia Merrell Stricklin Fort Worth jail Courtesy

Police and medical examiner’s records show Patricia Merrell Stricklin, 52, no address available, was booked into the Fort Worth jail on two manslaughter warrants Thursday.

Records show she was arrested in connection with the case in which London Pena, 6, of Fort Worth and her great-grandmother, Guadalupe Palacios, 81, of Corsicana died.

London’s mother, Darlene Smith of Fort Worth, said Friday that her daughter and Palacios were coming to meet her that day, Aug. 3, 2015. London had spent the weekend with her father, Paul Pena, also of Fort Worth, whose brother was driving.

Something on a truck in front of them fell into the roadway and got caught beneath their car, locking up the wheels.

“He couldn’t even move the wheel,” Smith said. They were stranded on the freeway.

Palacios and London were in the back seat of the Chevrolet Malibu. The accident happened so quickly “they didn’t even have time to get out of the car,” Smith said Pena told her.

She said both Pena and a bystander called her after the crash and she went to Cook Children’s Medical Center.

“In my mind, whenever everything happened, I was more so hoping that maybe she had a broken leg or a broken arm,” something she could deal with, maybe something that would keep London from playing in the yard for a while.

“When I got there and I saw something completely different that — to this day, it leaves me speechless. That was a sight no parent would ever want to see,” she said.

London had a brain bleed and her pelvis was crushed. She died after multiple surgeries trying to save her.

“I picked her up when she was deceased and I held her,” Smith said. “It was like clothes out of a washing machine when you washed them, that’s how she was when I held her. It was a time in life I wish never happened. Still, to this day, I’m in disbelief.”

Paul Pena and his brothers were taken to hospitals with minor injuries, MedStar spokesman Matt Zavadsky said after the crash.

Fort Worth police spokesman officer Jimmy Pollizani said no further information was available because the case was still under investigation. He said it has been forwarded to the district attorney’s office for disposition.

This report contains information from Star-Telegram archives.

Fort Worth Police and the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office are looking for these 10 fugitives. Crime Stoppers will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. Call 817-469-8477.

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