A Florida hit-and-run arrest has shocked a local community where the defendant, 37-year-old Jarvis Kendrick, is a well-known leader in the area. He’s regarded as a philanthropic businessman who serves on numerous boards and committees.
Now, Kendrick stands accused of a first-degree felony after authorities say he struck and killed a 74-year-old woman with his pickup truck and left her for dead before concocting an elaborate story to cover his tracks.
Authorities say that had Kendrick simply stopped and rendered aid, as required under F.S. 316.027, he likely would not have faced any charges. Now, he’s looking at a maximum 30 years in prison.
A conviction for hit-and-run/ leaving the scene of an accident can be charged as either a felony or misdemeanor, depending on whether the accident resulted in injury or death.
The statute requires that when a crash causes injury or death, a driver must:
- Stop his or her vehicle at the scene;
- Provide his or her name, address and vehicle registration to the other driver (or authorities);
- Show his or her license or driver’s permit;
- Provide license, registration, address or other information to investigating officers;
- Render reasonable assistance to others involved in the accident, including arranging for medical treatment if that appears necessary;
- If the other driver isn’t in a condition to receive the information above, the non-injured driver must immediately report the crash to local police.
Failure to do this in the event of an injury-causing crash is a third-degree felony, punishable by 5 years in prison. However, when the action involves a death, the charge is automatically upped to a first-degree felony, punishable by a minimum four years in prison and up to 30 years, plus a $10,000 fine. These are not the kind of cases you want to leave to a public defender.
Here, according to The Lakeland Ledger, the alleged victim was a 74-year-old woman who was suffering from dementia. She was reportedly walking on the road when she was hit by the passenger side of defendant’s vehicle, knocking the mirror of his truck. A witness said the driver of the truck tapped on the breaks and then drove away.
Detectives at the scene found the side mirror and opined it belonged to a certain model of truck. Surveillance footage of the incident confirmed the make and model type.
Authorities received an anonymous tip providing them Kendrick’s name. They contacted his employer and learned he had been scheduled to go to Long Boat Key for a business meeting on the day in question. Authorities verified Kendrick made that trip and then flew to Canada the following day. When he flew back into Florida, he called the state highway patrol and reported he’d crashed into a sign on Interstate 4 on the way home from the airport. Detectives were called to investigate that incident, but found no skid marks and determined the impact would not have been significant enough to tear off the truck’s mirror.
Police report in hand, he filed a claim with his insurer, had the car repaired and returned home.
Detectives questioned defendant’s wife and asked why he had gone to Canada. She told them he was supposed to be at a meeting in Orlando.
There is no evidence Kendrick was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. Further, all evidence at this point indicates decedent was actually at-fault for the crash because she was walking in the roadway.
Unfortunately, when it comes to the charge of fleeing an accident scene, this fact does not matter. Our experienced defense attorneys can help defendants in hit-and-run accidents determine the most effective legal strategy.
Call Fort Lauderdale Criminal Defense Attorney Richard Ansara at (954) 761-4011. Serving Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.
Additional Resources: Lakeland community leader charged in fatal hit-and-run, Oct. 18, 2016, By Tori Walker, Lakeland Ledger
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