Lake Highlands student struck and killed over the weekend

Riley Rawlins, a 17-year old junior at Lake Highlands High School was struck and killed at about 3:30 p.m. last Saturday near the light at Royal Lane and Audelia.

Witnesses told police that Rawlins was preparing to cross Royal, standing in the right lane of traffic when a speeding beige ’95 Lincoln struck him; He hit the windshield, rolled over the top of the car and was dragged behind the car for about 400 feet before the driver stopped. He was transported to Baylor where he died from his injuries.

The driver told officers at the scene that she was en route to work and was trying to beat the yellow light. She was in the middle lane but swerved into the right lane to avoid a vehicle that was already stopped in the middle lane at said light. She estimated she was driving about 70 miles per hour when she hit the teenager. That’s double the speed limit there. The driver, whose name I don’t yet have, was driving with no driver’s license and, as typically follows, no insurance. She told police that getting a driver’s license is too expensive, according to police reports.

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Rawlins loved being outside, camping and he planned to join the Marines after high school. He leaves behind mom, Monica, stepfather, Chris Buntenbah and sisters Gillian Rawlins and Lauren Buntenbah.

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From the Sparkman Funeral Home: A celebration of Riley’s life will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, January 14 at Sparkman Funeral Home in Richardson. In lieu of flowers donations may be made in Riley’s honor, reflecting his love of animals, to the ASPCA or to the East Lake Pet Orphanage at

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  • Michaela

    He was my bass buddy. Known him since I was in like 4th grade. And it hurts to know that when I come back to Texas I can’t see him. I’m going to miss him and I hope he can watch over me and be with me <3
    Love u Riley Rawlins.

  • Anonymous

    What a sad story.

  • Andy Morris

    How sad. My heart goes out to his family. This girl should be held accountable for her crimes. 

  • Andy Morris

    How sad. My heart goes out to his family. This girl should be held accountable for her crimes. 

  • Anonymous

    i didn’t know riley but my brother scottie douglas was one of rileys best friends. i read what happened and ive heard things thats happened. its crazy to know they haven’t done anything about this girl. if another person were to do it they would make sure they arrest them. but why not her because shes only 19 and she shouldn’t be in jail because she wont have a life. well she should of thought about that before getting behind the wheel. and taking a life of an innocent person that she obviously shows no sympathy for, that she couldn’t even apologize for what she did and the mistakes she made she deserves the punishment and the charges. every action has consequences and now she should have to face them.

  • Paul

    Was the driver at least ticketed at the scene for her license/insurance violations?  please tell me the DPD at least did that…

  • Missmellie352000

    Also worthy to note:

    For all of you who went directly to the Craig Watkins (Dallas District Attorney) Facebook page here is some information.
    District Attorney Watkins (or one of his employees) erased the first round of questions on his Facebook page, without so much of a mention of what he plans to do in regards to the death of 17 year old Riley Rawlins, AND, then closed off his page for comments to anyone who does not first “like” his page.
    But no worries, the next day, Friends of Riley Rawlins “liked” the D.A.’s page and started posting again.
    Your District Attorney is responsible to the people of Dallas. I would be furious if I was a tax paying citizen of Dallas. In all honesty this D.A. wouldn’t be getting so much heat if he would simply talk to the Mother of Riley and ask her what she wants. Monica (Riley’s Mother) is being told the D.A. wants to take this case to the Grand Jury – which could give this woman who killed Riley reduced charges. The Police want a “straight charge” – which means the D.A. takes this straight to trial and the police can FINALLY arrest this woman. Yes, she is still walking the streets without being charged for her crime.
    PLEASE click this link and sign the petition to help us and JUSTICE FOR RILEY!!!

  • Missmellie352000

    Today is Jan 22, Riley was struck and killed the 7th – and no, the police are not releasing her name yet AND she has not been arrested or charged.

    If I were a taxpaying citizen in this area – I would be mad as hell !!!

  • Missmellie352000

    Bless you for asking this question. If you send me an email, I will be happy to give you the information. To my knowledge there has not been an account set up at a local bank, but there is a way to donate – through PayPal. My email address is [email protected] send me an email and I will give you the info to donate directly to the family.
    Thank you

  • Missmellie352000

    A petition has been created online due to the inaction of the Dallas District Attorney. Today is the 22nd of January and STILL, the driver who struck and killed 17 year old Riley Rawlins, is walking the streets — maybe even driving a vehicle.  Please click the link and sign the petition – each signature sends an email directly to the Dallas District Attorney, asking him to take this case directly to trial, and have this woman arrested and charged. Please help by adding your name – so there can be Justice for Riley !!

  • Bill and Nancy Bludworth

    I have not heard about an account being established to help the family with the unexpected costs associated with this tragedy. Can you tell me if one has been established or if not how to donate?

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  • concerned

    This is such a sad story.. being a close friend of Andrew Green’s Family who got killed by a hit and run driver in October, it’s so sad to see this happen to another family.  I don’t understand why someone with no license would be driving but to be driving with no license, no insurance and not paying attention to whats around her makes no sense to me.  I have daughters that go to Lake Highlands and they do walk with their friends to and from the school and I worry about them everytime they leave..  I am so upset that any family has to go through this pain because of wreckless people, not caring enough to pay attention.  Her just getting probation is a joke,  How is that even justifeid? 

  • Wilson!

    Thanks for posting this.  I have contacted the DA’s office to urge them to pursue this case and not plea it out.  I hope many others do the same to show Mr. Watkins we care about what goes on in our neighborhood.

  • LH Neighbor

     I would be curious to know if the driver has a criminal history – and how old is she?

  • ChristinaCraft

    A plea-bargain? Are you serious? Probation? I think she should get a lot more than that! She willing admits to going over twice the speed limit & swerving into the right lane where Riley was & that’s all she might get. What in the world is wrong with the system in Texas? When admitting to her wrong doings she should have been arrested right there on the spot! Then to top it off she has no license or insurance, come on now, it’s not rocket science. And why hasn’t her identity been released yet? Is she related to someone that is of importance in Lake Highlands? Something doesn’t smell right about that. I know that there is nothing anyone can do to bring back Riley but for her to walk away with out any punishment is for the BIRDS!!!!

  • Caracolgin

    Have they released the woman’s name yet?

  • I appreciate all the comments and added information here. Reading the police reports and writing this, I too was enraged by this woman’s actions and deeply disturbed by the loss this family has endured. The truth is, I see people like this driver every day in the streets of Lake Highlands —  not necessarily sans a license, but they speed through school zones and residential streets, text and swerve, run yellow/red lights. This coupled with the high level of foot traffic in our neighborhood is a recipe for disaster and we have seen accidents and tragedy time and again. I tell my children this and other stories in explicit detail because when they are walking our streets, I want them to know exactly what they are dealing with, and when they eventually get behind the wheel, maybe they will realize that a car is a powerful and deadly weapon if not operated with great care. 

  • For anyone and everyone who’s concerned.   The officers suggested to the parents that since there hasn’t been any media coverage (this is the only place you can find anything on the story), that there’s a good chance the driver will be able to plea-bargain down to a punishment of probation.

    If you want to show support for the family, contact the DA’s office (214-653-3600) and ask if this is going to be taken seriously, or if it’s going to be ‘pushed through because there’s a lot of cases in the court’.

  • I’m so desperately  heartbroken!  
    I agree that with her blatant disregard for the law and safety of others, she should be charged with murder!

  • LH Guest

    Looking at the boy’s facebook page it seems as if he did have a positive impact on his friends and family.  Several friends have commented that they intend to enter the Marines in his honor since that was his goal following high school…very admirable and a fitting tribute to their friend.

  • Concerned for Our Kids

    Absolutely….blatant disregard for the law should be taken into consideration when charging this woman…the fact that she admitted it to police shows arrogance on her part, as well.  Talked to a neighbor who knows a nurse on duty when he was brought in to Baylor and she said the entire atmosphere was so depressing and sad that even the ER personnel were emotional….so, so, so sad.

  • Dansears

    Used to be a custodian at Lake Highlands High School. I would see the smiling faces of all the kids and wonder at what lies ahead of them in their lives.Who will be famous and who will never be known but make life on Earth a better place,what kind of parents they will be. Who will make a difference.I am sadden by the death of this young man.He hopefully has made a difference in his short life.God Bless him.

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  • Granite

    In my opinion, when a case like this occurs that the driver has decided to ignore the law, the charge should be heightened – in this case to 2nd degree murder.

  • Anonymous

    First of all thank you to the reporter who is telling this story. I am the friend of this childs mother, and to be honest – you were able to get more information about her sons death than she has been able to get. This is a horrible tragedy and even worse when you are kept in the dark about such a horrible crime that has happened to your child. Thank you – at least Monica has some answers now, all be they painful ones.

  • WhiteRock

    A driver’s license cost is nominal (much less than one tank’s worth of gas). There must be some legal reason as to why she was driving without one. Gee, I wonder what that could be….

  • Carol Toler

    Very sad. I’m told the LHHS kids are very upset at the loss of a friendly, well-liked kid. Prayers for the family…

  • LH Neighbor

    Another senseless tragedy in LH…at least the driver won’t have to “worry” about getting to work late or the “high cost” of getting a driver’s license! This could have been ANY of our kids in LH – walking to Sonic, Wendy’s, The “Bell”, a basketball/football/soccer game at LH. When will people wake up and realize there is a reason for speed limits, having a driver’s license, traffic signals, etc? Prayers for this family during such a horrible time of shock and grief….
    Thank you, Christina, for reporting this story and please keep us posted on additional details regarding the woman who committed this horrible offence.