A Nassau County man who continues to maintain that his actions were not the ones that ultimately killed six people in a 2010 traffic crash will now likely spend the rest of his life in prison. Pedro Ocasio-Alcazar was sentenced this month to 60 years in prison – 10 years for each person who died in the crash, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. He was facing up to 15 years on each count of vehicular that a jury convicted him of in January.
Police said Ocasio-Alcazar was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic in Nassau County when his car side-swiped a car with six people inside, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. That car then slid into the median and was hit by an oncoming truck that killed six people – including four children, the newspaper reported. Ocasio-Alcazar argued he wasn’t the one who caused the deaths and maintains he should have never been charged. So just how far does a driver’s responsibility extend in a Nassau County Traffic Case such as this one?
To charge vehicular homicide, the state must prove 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 law. It appears fairly obvious that Ocasio-Alcazar was driving recklessly in this Nassau County Driving Case. But to just what degree appeared to be the issue. Nassau County Traffic Homicide cases present significant challenges to both sides. It’s not as cut and dried as a homicide case where there is a gun or knife involved and clearly some action the led to the death of another. No one is arguing that the driver got behind the wheel with the intent to kill six people. And most drivers who end up charged in Nassau County Traffic Homicide cases do not have much experience in the criminal court system. They may have a few traffic tickets, but nothing that comes close to the amount of time they are now facing.
This Nassau County Traffic Case gets more into the blame and fault that one might see in a civil court case – not in a Nassau County Criminal Defense Case. Jurors were essentially asked to speculate and determine if the driver’s actions were so egregious that another driver could not be expected to avoid the crash and that the root cause of the deaths was Ocasio-Alcazar. The jurors decided that he was and a judge appeared to agree – issuing what amounts to a life sentence for the 42-year-old defendant. Our Nassau County Traffic Attorney represents drivers cited or charged with the entire range of traffic crimes, from traffic homicides on down to standard speeding tickets.
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 Traffic Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.