A Jacksonville man was sentenced to five years in prison for leaving the scene of a 2011 traffic crash that killed a 13-year-old Clay County boy. Anthony Margadonna, 24, was sentenced last week after pleading guilty last year to leaving the scene of an accident causing death, a first-degree felony in Clay County, Florida. The sentence also includes 10 years of probation, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Margadonna was facing up to 15 years in prison. Florida law required Margadonna to serve at least 21 months in prison because the charge does carry a minimum mandatory sentence.
Margadonna was driving on Branan Field Road in Clay County about 9:40 p.m. on a November night when he hit a 13-year-old who was riding his bicycle, the newspaper reported. Police alleged that Margadonna did not stop, nor did he report the crash to authorities. He was arrested in Clay County two days later when his Jeep was spotted while he was driving, the newspaper reported.
It was never reported whether Margadonna was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. From a legal perspective, there's no way to charge him with it because he allegedly ran. There would not be an officer available to testify he or she witnessed signs of impairment because no one from law enforcement saw him until two days after the crash. Margadonna was sentenced to Clay County drug offender probation, which can be triggered by Florida drug crime convictions on his record - which he reportedly does have.
If you are in a traffic accident, you are legally required to stop immediately. In the case where someone is hurt, as in this Clay County Felony Crime case, you must provide reasonable assistance, including either taking the person to a hospital or calling someone, including 911, to arrange for medical attention if you think the person needs it or the person asks to see a doctor immediately. In this case, police say Margadonna did neither and just took off. It's unclear if he knew the extent of the damage or how badly the boy was hurt, but the driver has a legal duty to stop the car to find out.
Leaving the scene of accident with property damage is a misdemeanor in Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties, punishable by up to 60 days in jail. The charge elevates to a third-degree felony when someone is injured, exposing the defendant to up to five years in prison. When there's a death, as in this Clay County Felony Crime case, it becomes a first-degree felony and the minimum mandatory sets in. Crimes involving traffic accidents can be difficult because a person is just driving along the road when something happens. Decisions to stay or leave are made instantly and people are understandably shook up when an accident happens, meaning they may make decisions they would not ordinarily make. People who may not have a criminal record at all are suddenly faced with a decision where the wrong move can have them looking at mandatory prison time.
If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Clay County or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Leaving the Scene of an Accident Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.