Police are looking for two drivers accused of racing each other down Interstate 95, causing one wreck that touched off several more – including one that killed an elderly man and critically injured his wife. The series of accidents allegedly began when two cars were weaving in and out of traffic, which caused a small Honda to go off the road and hit a guardrail, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Ten minutes later, a pickup truck slowing down for the stopped traffic was rear-ended by another pickup truck, though there were only minor injuries, the newspaper reported. Shortly thereafter, the elderly driver was slowing down behind a tractor trailer when another driver slammed into his SUV, causing the SUV to spin and smash into the back of the tractor-trailer, the newspaper reported.
The drivers would not have to be directly involved in the one fatal crash to be charged with a crime in this St. Johns County Traffic Case, but the state would have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the drivers’ negligence triggered a string of crashes that ultimately led to the death of the victim. According to Florida law, vehicular homicide is “the killing of a human being, or the killing of an unborn child by any injury to the mother, 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.” Last year, a Nassau County jury found a man guilty of six counts of vehicular homicide for sideswiping a car that touched off a chain of accidents that killed six people, so there is a history of drivers being convicted even though he or she might not have been directly involved in the ultimate fatal crash.
In most St. Johns County Traffic Cases, vehicular homicide is a second-degree felony with a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in state prison. However, in this case, because the driver is accused of leaving the scene of the accident and not stopping to render aid, the charge would be elevated to a first-degree felony, which would bring the penalty up to 30 years in state prison. These serious felony charges may not even come in this St. Johns County Traffic Case – plenty depends on police finding the drivers and then being able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that any reckless driving was directly connected to the fatal crash.
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 St. Johns County Traffic Attorney, Victoria “Tori” Mussallem, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.