Police arrest suspect one year after racing caused fatal crash on Jacksonville bridge

March 27, 2013

A Jacksonville man is now charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident causing death after police determined he was the driver in a fatal wreck a year ago. Police linked Robert Sparrow's DNA to the blood found on the deployed airbag in the car that was abandoned on top of the Mathews Bridge, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Sparrow now faces up to 20 years in prison. Vehicular homicide in Jacksonville is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Leaving the scene of an accident causing death is a third-degree felony with a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Police said two Chevrolet Impalas were speeding and weaving in and out of traffic on the bridge in March 2012, the newspaper reported. The second Impala then hit two cars - one in the side and one from behind. The driver of the car, who police now say is Sparrow, allegedly got out of his car, talked to one of the victims, and then got in the second Impala, which fled the scene. The driver of the car who was hit from behind died a week after the crash. Several hours after the crash, Sparrow reported the car stolen, the newspaper reported, and an analysis of the airbag showed the car Sparrow is accused of driving was going 82 mph seconds before the crash. By leaving the scene of the accident in Florida, Sparrow now faces an extra five years he would not have been facing. On the other side of that coin, however, if Sparrow was intoxicated or had drugs on him at the time, there's no evidence of that now since it's been a year since the accident.

Assuming the state can prove this Jacksonville Traffic Case, the circumstances aren't likely to help Sparrow in an eventual sentencing. If a driver in Florida is involved in a traffic accident, he or she has the responsibility to see if anyone is injured and, if they are, either call for help or administer some sort of medical aid to the person. Sparrow is accused of getting out of the car, talking to someone and taking off. It's unclear whether Sparrow knew someone was injured, but when there's a crash at speeds that high, it's probably safe to assume someone was hurt. Prosecutors will also argue that because of media coverage of the crash, Sparrow had to know someone was killed and did nothing to turn himself in. His only contact with police was to report the car stolen, which the state will likely point to as means to cover up his involvement. While any defendant, including Sparrow, is entitled to a trial specifically on the facts of the case alone in this Jacksonville Traffic Case, judges often take a broader look when determining a sentence. Remorse often plays a big role and, in some cases, a person's actions after the crime can have more effect on a sentence that the crime itself.

If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm at (904) 365-5200 for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our Duval County Traffic Crimes Attorney, Victoria "Tori" Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.