A tip from an anonymous party has led to the arrest of a St. Johns County woman for a hit and run crash injuring a St. Johns County officer. According to a report on news4jax.com, early on the morning of New Year’s Day, the police car was hit from behind. The at-fault driver allegedly then fled the scene. After a day of searching, police receive a tip from a non-identified person that leads them to a car matching the description of the offending vehicle. The car had damage consistent with the crash and was actually located on a tow truck leaving the home of the suspect. The suspect allegedly admitted to driving the night of the crash.
The suspect will likely be charged with Leaving the Scene of an Accident which results in injury to a person “other than serious bodily injury”. Police reported that the victim officer had minor injuries. When someone is arrested for this St. Johns County driving crime, it is a felony of the third degree punishable by up to five years in prison. Injuries sustained from a hit and run are considered “serious” if the injury creates the substantial risk of death, disfigurement or impairment of the function of a body part or organ. If convicted of a serious bodily injury leaving the scene of an accident, an offender faces up to fifteen years in prison because the charge is a second degree felony. Obviously, the most serious hit and run cases involve leaving the scene that results in a death. Under Florida law, if the crash results in the death of a person, all drivers have to stop immediately and render any aid they can. If convicted of leaving an accident involving death, a driver faces up to thirty years in prison because it is a first degree felony. This driving charge also carries a four year minimum term of imprisonment. This means a suspect must serve four years day for day, minimum.
While it is still early, the suspect in this case will certainly be under increased scrutiny because the victim of the crash is a police officer. At a minimum, if convicted, she will be required to make restitution to the victim for any damage or loss. Also, she faces a mandatory three year driver’s license revocation. Before her license can be reinstated, if convicted, she must have completed the Victim’s Impact Panel, which is a presentation put on by Mother’s Against Drunk Driving.