ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Maliyah Waters, 18, has been charged with aggravated manslaughter of a child, and child abuse (aggravated battery, great bodily harm) in connection with a crash that claimed the lives of her 1-1/2-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old boy and left another toddler hospitalized, authorities said.

Police say she was not the driver.

What You Need To Know

  • Maliyah Waters to face charges in car accident, St. Petersburg police say

  • Waters' 1-1/2-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old boy died in the wreck

  • Some people were ejected when a 2017 Nissan Rogue they were in struck a tree

  • Police urged community members to wear seat belts, properly restrain children 

Two adults and four children were heading north in the 6200-block of Tyrone Boulevard in a Nissan Rogue on Friday afternoon when the vehicle struck a palm tree, authorities said. Multiple people were ejected, police said.

“I was putting my scooter away and went in the house, and then I heard an explosion,“ said John Zurla, who lives near the scene.

That explosion, according to police, was the sound of the small SUV crashing into a palm tree and landing in his neighbor’s yard.

Williah Walker, 1-1/2, and Mar’ron Heatley, 16, died at area hospitals, authorities said. Another toddler is in critical but stable condition.

Zurla said it all came too close to home. 

“My neighbor found the 16-year-old dead under my truck,” Zurla said. “He was the one who died. He was under my truck. And I’m going, ‘Wow, the little baby, they must’ve flew 20 feet. This is crazy!’ ”

There are no details about the other adult or the third child involved.  

“We cannot emphasize enough the importance of wearing seat belts and of properly restraining children,“ St. Petersburg Police spokesperson Sandra Bentil said, “There’s a child seat in the yard not far from where that car came to rest.There is help at the police department and fire departments for anyone so that they can safely transport a child."