Child, 8, dies from injuries suffered in alleged DUI crash

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — A young boy who was a passenger in a weekend crash in Warwick has died at the hospital, city police confirm.

According to police, 8-year old Jahmeer Valles-Halloway succumbed to his injuries on Wednesday.

Police said Valles-Halloway was in a car driven by Justin Preston when they were involved in a head-on collision Sunday night on Warwick Avenue.

Investigators allege Preston was drunk when his SUV crossed the center line and struck another vehicle head-on.

A 2-year-old child who was also in Preston’s backseat was released from the hospital Sunday night. Police have not confirmed the relationship between Preston and the two children, but said both were in his care.

Preston and two other adults were also sent to the hospital as a result of the crash, police said.

Preston, 34, of East Providence, was charged with driving under the influence – resulting in serious bodily injury, driving with a suspended license, and two counts of driving to endanger. He was arraigned from his hospital bed on Tuesday and ordered held as a bail violator.

The charges against Preston will be amended in the coming weeks, according to police.

There are added penalties in Rhode Island for driving drunk with children in the car, though the charge is a misdemeanor. State Sen. Maryellen Goodwin, D-Providence, hopes to make it a felony.

“This is extremely important. It was then, and it is now,” she said. “A child doesn’t have any say whether or not they go into a car.”

Goodwin’s bill passed the Senate in 2013 but stalled in committee after it went over to the House. She told Eyewitness News she intends to re-file the legislation.

The crash remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact Capt. Rick Rathbun or Sgt. John Kelly with the Warwick Police Department Traffic Division at (401) 468-4343.

The crash was separate from another that same night on the same roadway that’s also believed to be alcohol-related. Megan White, 26, of Warwick, is accused of driving drunk and causing a crash that claimed the life of 82-year-old Daniel McCarthy of Cranston.