A Jacksonville man died last week, five days after being run over by a car in a parking lot shortly after the bars closed at the Jacksonville Landing. Taylor Evans, 22, was hit by man driving a truck, apparently fleeing from a group of people chasing and beating him, according to a report in the Florida Times-Union. Police have offered very few details in the Jacksonville hit and run case, including whether they know who the driver was, though Evans’ friend told the newspaper police had spoken with the driver and have yet to file charges. Police did ask for help seeking a woman who was being hit by a man at Maverick’s, the night club where Evans and others attended that evening, though police have not said if that plea from the public is in any way connected to the man accused of running Evans over.
In this case, and in any Jacksonville criminal case, the decision to file charges lies with the State Attorney’s Office. Most are routine and quick decisions – the police find drugs on someone during a traffic stop, the state files Duval County Drug Possession charges and the case moves on through the system. But not all cases are that cut and dried. There appear to be many moving parts in this case. Witnesses said the driver was being chased and beaten on his way to his car, even when he was inside the car, the newspaper reported. The driver apparently tried to speed off to escape and smashed into several parked cars before he drove over Evans and kept going. The driver could clearly faces charges of Jacksonville vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident causing a death. Vehicular manslaughter can be charged as either a Duval County misdemeanor or a felony, depending upon the severity of crime. For example, if someone is speeding and causes a crash, that is more likely to be a Florida misdemeanor, but if someone is driving under the influence at the time of the crash that kills someone, it is typically charged as a felony.
That brings up another unanswered question in this case: Was the driver intoxicated at the time of the crash? That would open up a whole separate set of possible Jacksonville DUI charges. And, of course, if the driver is the one accused of beating a woman at the club, he could face battery or domestic battery charges in Jacksonville in that incident as well, depending on the relationship with the woman involved in the incident. But what about the people chasing and beating the driver? Could they face charges in Evans’ death in that Jacksonville parking lot? Believe it or not, they could. Take this hypothetical: If there was a weapon involved in the alleged beating, some people in the group could technically be charged with aggravated battery – a Jacksonville felony. And, under Florida’s felony murder law, anyone committing a felony during an incident that leads to a death can technically be charged with felony murder.
This case has loads of potential issues, most notably the ability of the driver to identify which individual attacker did what. But nonetheless, serious charges could be filed for people in a number of different roles in a case like this. In a situation such as this, it is extremely important to consult with a Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney immediately if you think police may be asking you questions. An Aggressive Criminal Defense Attorney can be with you, if and when you meet with police, and best advice you of your options. If you or a loved one needs a criminal defense attorney in Jacksonville or the surrounding area, call The Mussallem Law Firm, PA at (904) 365-5200 for a free consultation. Our Duval County criminal defense attorney is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.