Teen crashes while fleeing police in Jacksonville, now facing vehicular homicide charge

A 16-year-old boy trying to run from police finds himself in much deeper trouble now after he ran a red light and killed a 22-year-old driver. The teen, Zachary Lambert, is now charged with vehicular homicide, according to the Florida Times-Union. Vehicular homicide is a second degree felony in Florida and is punishable by up to 15 years in prison if the state attorney treats Zachary as an adult. Lambert is also charged with driving without a license causing death or serious bodily injury, a third degree felony and fleeing or attempting to elude a law enforcement officer after causing death, which is a first degree felony, the newspaper reported. The Florida Highway Patrol, which is investigating the case, told the newspaper it is still looking into how Lambert got the pick-up truck he was driving and how fast he was going.

The Florida Highway Patrol reports that Zachary was headed eastbound on Beach Boulevard while being pursued by a marked Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office patrol unit with lights and sirens. They report that the boy failed to stop at the traffic signal at Beach Boulevard and San Pablo. The victim was northbound on San Pablo and entered the intersection on a green light and was hit on her side door by Zachary’s vehicle. According to a witness at the scene, the traffic signal was red for Zachary. The victim was killed by the impact. Police estimate that Zachary was going around 100 miles per hour in the car.

Prosecutors now have a decision to make as to whether to charge Lambert as an adult or let the case play out in juvenile court. The state weighs a slew of factors in making that decision – and sometimes will charge a teen as an adult as a negotiating chip to coax a plea deal out of the youngster. Often, a teen’s criminal record plays a role. In this case, Lambert’s doesn’t help him. The newspaper reports Lambert was charged with aggravated assault in Duval County in September after pulling a knife on his sister and threatening to kill her.

Having an experienced Jacksonville Juvenile Attorney involved before the state makes its charging decision can help. Our Jacksonville criminal defense law firm can start negotiating early to get the best result for your child or loved one. Even if the state goes ahead with the case as if the teen is an adult, the judge can decide to give the child a “youthful offender” sentence in Florida, which is usually a combination of incarceration and probation for a maximum of six years.

If you need a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call Mussallem and Associate, PA at 904-365-5200 for a free consultation.