Tampa father of five dies saving daughters

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Tampa resident Maurice Harris lived for his five daughters. And Saturday afternoon, just outside the doors of St. Joseph's Hospital, he died for them.

"He was at the Medical Arts Facility at St. Joseph's to take his daughter to see a specialist there. It's a Saturday morning. He didn't wake up with a hangover. He woke up taking care of his children," sister Lashune Harris said Monday.

He and two of his girls were walking out happy, celebrating good news. Just outside their line of sight, an 18-year-old driver, for unknown reasons, lost control of his pickup truck on MLK Boulevard, according to police.

"He swerved into another lane, hit another vehicle, both of the vehicles crossed the median," Tampa Police Department's Andrea Davis said.

Police say the pickup truck didn't stop. It hopped the curb, crashed into a sign, and continued on into the Medical Arts Facility's driveway. According to witnesses, Harris shoved his daughters out of the way and took the hit, head-on.

"It actually took a little while for anyone to know he was there. The children were trying to notify someone that their dad was under the vehicle. The initial assistance was to the driver," Lashune said. 

Tampa police are now investigating why the driver didn't stop.

"We will be looking through his phone records to see if there were other factors that lead to the accident, at this point, it's just guessing," Davis said.

As Harris's daughters prepare to bury their dad, they're hanging on to memories of a father's love that can only be described as selfless.

"You only have a quick second, thinking and timing, and to think, 'Let me save my children.' If he hadn't, we'd probably be talking about three deaths instead of one," Lashune said.

Once the driver's phone records and toxicology reports are complete, the State Attorney's Office will have the final say on whether criminal charges will be filed.

Harris' funeral is Saturday.