Friends and family are mourning the loss of James Patrick Thompson. Mr. Thompson passed away in a car accident Saturday night at the intersection of SW 3rd and Lyons Road.
The crash report, prepared by Investigator Loudermilk of PBSO, indicated that Thompson was headed eastbound on Southwest 3rd street, approaching Lyons Road in the right turn lane approaching the intersection with Lyons.
A witness indicated “a high rate of speed and at least one flat tire, possibly two.” Thompson lost control of the vehicle, traveled through the intersection, and “violently collided with a traffic signal pole, and palm tree on the northeast corner of Lyons Road.”
Two readers sent us photos of the scene.
Next of kin were notified and we noticed many friends and family mourning their loss.
West Boca News sends our best wishes in this difficult time to all of them.
On Wednesday PBSO deputies arrested Tyler Briggs (40) on the charge of child neglect. Briggs has had eight cases in the county since 2009 including a violent felony (aggravated assault with a deadly weapon and battery) in 2012 that was dropped by prosecutors. Last year he did 2 days in jail on a misdemeanor domestic battery, and he’s had a few other minor criminal charges. We also found a 2011 battery case for him in Collier County (Naples area).
The charge against him seems dubious. In law there’s a concern about crimes that are “vague.” The specific language of the statute he’s accused of violating is:
A person who willfully or by culpable negligence neglects a child without causing great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child.
Neglect is defined as:
A caregiver’s failure or omission to provide a child with the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the child’s physical and mental health, including, but not limited to, food, nutrition, clothing, shelter, supervision, medicine, and medical services that a prudent person would consider essential for the well-being of the child
We don’t know what the specific accusations are against Mr. Briggs, but the law he’s accused of violating seems vague. He’s accused of not being a prudent parent (or caregiver). All parents have moments that could fit that description. Taking such a vague charge and treating it as a felony seems unreasonably harsh.
Mr. Briggs’ reported address is near the intersection of Lyons and SW 3rd St.
One of our readers reports a child was hit by a car in Sandalfoot Squire, a community on SW 3rd Street near Lyons Road in Sandalfoot Cove. We have confirmation of the story from the Palm Beach Post.
PBSO and Fire Rescue found a car on top of a young boy, who was taken to Delray Medical Center. Our reader reports that they were on the scene fast and got the injured child on a stretcher and on the way to the hospital in a rush.
Another reader reports: “He has a concussion, staples, scrapes, sore, etc. As far as they can see no broken bones. He is in bad shape though. At first not sure if [he] would make it, but just pray please. He’s only 3.”
In our earlier Facebook post there was some heated discussion about whether parents watch their children closely enough, whether it was an appropriate thing to discuss at a time like this, and whether it was unprofessional for us to post the story as we did.
We’re not professional journalists. We’re amateurs and we’re learning. We don’t make any significant money on this venture and are essentially working as volunteers, though we do hope it will grow into something more.
In the articles we write on the West Boca News website we do try to be more professional. In Facebook posts like this we post more raw and early material from readers, which sometimes leads to other readers sending us more information so that we can write a complete story on the website. That community input helps us write better articles.
One commenter pointed to the Palm Beach Post article as “professional.” It had three sentences and no pictures. If professional means that, we hope we never get there.