HOUSTON – A woman who was almost three months pregnant has died after someone cracked her skull with a baseball bat during a fight in a park over a minor vehicle accident, police say.
Police say that Melissa Spriggs, 27, was hit with the baseball bat as she tried to usher her family to safety. She died Tuesday at Ben Taub General Hospital from the injuries she suffered at the south Houston park on Sunday.
Police are trying to find the person who hit her with the bat.
Spriggs and other family members arrived at the park after her 18-year-old cousin called, saying he'd been in a car accident and feared the other driver was going to beat him up.
"She came out there basically as a peacemaker to tell everybody let's just get your information and get out of here," said Sgt. M. Dillingham of the homicide division. "She was saying, 'Get in the car; let's go. This ain't worth it."'
Dillingham said the fracas began when a white Buick with flashy rims hit a silver Nissan Altima belonging to Spriggs' cousin in the park's parking lot on Sunday afternoon.
"The driver of the Buick was ... trying to show off the rims on his car," he said.
"Both drivers got out to inspect the damage. They blamed each other (and) nobody wanted to exchange information," Dillingham said. He said that the accident caused only slight damage.
But tempers escalated and about 30 people gathering at the park supported one side or the other. The driver of the Buick had been there for a family picnic, Dillingham said.
Police were called and an accident report was taken, but the dispute continued between the two sides after officers left, he said.
"It was like a small riot almost," Dillingham said.
As the fight raged, one of Spriggs' relatives fired into the air and possibly into the crowd. Witnesses saw a young man sneak behind Spriggs with a bat.
"She came out there and was trying to get everybody on her side of the family into the cars when the guy hit her in the head," Dillingham said. "He reared back and took a full swing. There's no question he was aiming for her head."
The unidentified man escaped with others in the Buick. Spriggs' relative was arrested at the park and charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm and deadly conduct.
The blow from the bat fractured Spriggs' skull, causing her to suffer a subdural hematoma, or bleeding on the brain.