Driver leaves passenger to die after crash, hospital says it wasn't the crash that killed him

May 23, 2012

The man police found unresponsive in the passenger seat of a Nissan Altima that had been crashed into a light pole and an abandoned house died at the hospital last week.
But doctors say he didn't die from the car accident and detectives told News4Jax.com he had a bullet or stab wound - and that was likely what killed the man. Witnesses also said the driver jumped into a truck and left, according to the Florida Times-Union, and police told the newspaper a similar truck was pulled over on the Westside.

The seriousness of the crime is climbing rapidly - from leaving the scene of an accident in Jacksonville, to leaving the scene of an accident causing serious injury or death, to manslaughter to perhaps even murder. Details will shake out later - and this may be a case where police put a little bit of information out there to see who, if anyone, knows more. And the less information police have the more they tend to put out to the public to solicit tips. One of the first tidbits to trickle out may be whether the victim was shot or stabbed. According to various news reports, there were only two people in the car at the time. The one left for dead and the one who fled. If the driver isn't talking - and an experienced Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney would advise him not to without an attorney present - police will need outside sources to get to the bottom of the situation.
One of the first places police will turn will be to the pick-up truck where the driver was found. If the truck is the "getaway car" of sorts when a homicide occurred, the driver could be charged with Jacksonville accessory after the fact. If the state was seeking the death penalty on the killer, the driver with an accessory charge could face up to 30 years in prison. If the state was only looking for life in prison on the murder charge, the driver could be looking at up to 15 years in prison. Either one is usually enough to get someone talking. Significant time behind bars for something you had a secondary role in is generally a motivator for people to come clean about the facts of a crime someone else committed.

Our Jacksonville Criminal Defense Lawyer, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, has had conversation after conversation with clients who can't believe what one his or her "friends" told police about them. As much as we hold our own relationships in high regard, the "friend" line can blur some when it means you're the one sitting behind bars for a decade. Always assume that everyone that may have been arrested in Jacksonville together is doing every possible to same themselves. Look out for you own best interests because, among co-defendants, you are likely the only one that will.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County violent crimes lawyer is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.