A Nassau County man now faces up to 90 years in prison after being convicted of six counts of vehicular homicide this month. Prosecutors said Pedro Ocasio-Alcazar was driving recklessly when he sideswiped a car, starting a reaction that led to the death of six people in 2010, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Vehicular homicide is a second-degree felony in Florida, punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Because he was convicted of all six counts, Ocasio-Alcazar, 42, faces up to 90 years in prison when he is sentenced next month.
Ocasio-Alcazar was accused of speeding and driving recklessly on a rural Callahan highway when he sideswiped a car with six people inside, the newspaper reported. The car slid into the median, was hit by a truck and flipped, the newspaper reported. Even though Ocasio-Alcazar’s vehicle wasn’t the one that hit and eventually killed the driver and five passengers, police and prosecutors deemed he was at fault and charged him with six counts of vehicular homicide. In Nassau County Traffic Cases, vehicular homicide can be charge when a death is “caused by the operation of a motor vehicle by another in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another,” according to Florida statutes. That’s the key issue in this Nassau County Traffic Case, whether Ocasio-Alcazar was driving recklessly or dangerously enough that he should have known his actions were likely to kill someone. Ocasio-Alcazar disagreed vehemently, taking the stand and saying he wasn’t the one who caused the deaths and demanding an apology from the state for even charging him.
Vehicular homicide is a difficult charge for both the state and a Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney. One on hand, proving the degree of recklessness is difficult, especially because everyone understands that Ocasio-Alcazar did not set out to kill anyone, let alone six people. But from a Nassau County Criminal Defense perspective, it’s natural for a jury to want to hold a person accountable when six family members are killed. It likely did not help that Ocasio-Alcazar had a history of traffic tickets and license suspensions, which likely swayed the jury in the direction that he should have known better. Drivers in these cases are typically not hardened criminals who have been through the system before, and are generally facing a lengthy prison sentence for the first time in their lives. Our Nassau County Traffic Attorney defends all types of traffic offenses, from moving violations on up to vehicular homicide.
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 Nassau County Criminal Defense Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.