Florida hit and run law may need a new look - WSPA.com

Florida hit and run law may need a new look

Posted: Updated:

In March of 2004, former Tampa dance instructor Jennifer Porter hit four children as they were walking across the street in Tampa.  Two of the children died at the scene.

Porter sped off and never served any jail time for her actions.

In 2009, 17-year-old Jordan Valdez drove off after hitting a homeless woman and killing her in Tampa.

Valdez was sentenced to probation.

In July of this year, Hillsborough County Sheriff's deputies say 38-year-old Donald Ward tried to run after hitting the vehicle of Ann Marie Fanning.  Deputies say Ward smelled of alcohol.

Criminal defense attorney Joe Bodiford says there is a disparity in Florida law between a hit and run and a D.U.I. Offense.

Bodiford says, "So you stick around, you get convicted of a DUI, you get a up to a year, you leave, they can't prove you were driving under the influence, they just know that you left, most you can get is 60 days."

Bodiford says in many hit and run cases, people run out of fear, "A lot of people do that because they panic. I don't know that they consider what the penalty would be because most folks don't walk around with a working knowledge of criminal sentencing in Florida."

However, Bodiford says the current hit and run law in Florida makes it difficult to prove someone was drinking at the time of an accident, if they are able to flee.  "The problem it's created for law enforcement is, once they follow the forensic trail and find the person who has left the scene, it's very difficult to prove they may have been under the influence at the time they were driving."

Republican State Representative Dana Young says, it may be time to take a new look at the law, "If the law in Florida somehow provides a warped incentive for someone to leave the scene of an accident, particularly if there is bodily injury, then that is something we need to look at, that is something that we need to work with law enforcement and make sure that we are creating the right legal system and the right incentives to get people to do what they should do morally."

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Frightened neighbors voice concerns about Pasco mental health ALF

    Frightened neighbors voice concerns about Pasco mental health ALF

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:01 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:01:54 GMT
    In the middle of a New Port Richey subdivision on Langston Ave. white iron gates lead to a large compound surrounded by barbed wire fences. Inside there is a swimming pool, parking lotand several buildings that formerly served as the neighborhood HOA community center.
    In the middle of a New Port Richey subdivision on Langston Ave. white iron gates lead to a large compound surrounded by barbed wire fences. Inside there is a swimming pool, parking lotand several buildings that formerly served as the neighborhood HOA community center.
  • Bradenton apartment complex to be repaired after 8 On Your Side report

    Bradenton apartment complex to be repaired after 8 On Your Side report

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:47 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:47:05 GMT
    Last week, 8 on your side showed you some of the dilapidated conditions inside some units at the Townhouse Park Apartments in Bradenton.Tenants were having problems with mold and rodents.There was also water damage.
    Last week, 8 on your side showed you some of the dilapidated conditions inside some units at the Townhouse Park Apartments in Bradenton.Tenants were having problems with mold and rodents.There was also water damage.
  • 2.2 million bean bag chairs recalled after deaths

    2.2 million bean bag chairs recalled after deaths

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:01 AM EDT2014-08-22 15:01:24 GMT
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death. CPSC photoAbout 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death. CPSC photo
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death.
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Tampa Police arrest man for murder outside nightclub

    Tampa Police arrest man for murder outside nightclub

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:04 PM EDT2014-08-23 03:04:54 GMT
    Tampa Police have arrested 27-year-old Edgardo Molina of Tampa for a murder outside Club Underground in downtown Tampa early Thursday morning.
    Tampa Police have arrested 27-year-old Edgardo Molina of Tampa for a murder outside Club Underground in downtown Tampa early Thursday morning.
  • I-75 NB reopens in Manatee County after deadly accident

    I-75 NB reopens in Manatee County after deadly accident

    Friday, August 22 2014 10:52 PM EDT2014-08-23 02:52:10 GMT
    Deadly crash in Manatee County.Deadly crash in Manatee County.
    Florida Highway Patrol troopers reopened I-75 in Manatee County after a deadly accident shutdown the northbound lanes early Friday evening.
    Florida Highway Patrol troopers reopened I-75 in Manatee County after a deadly accident shutdown the northbound lanes early Friday evening.

  • A Sarasota high school remembers slain varsity cheerleader

    A Sarasota high school remembers slain varsity cheerleader

    Friday, August 22 2014 10:49 PM EDT2014-08-23 02:49:47 GMT
    It was hard to tell that the team colors of Riverview High School in Sarasota County were maroon and gray Friday night.Most of the crowd was wearing blue.“Her favorite color was blue,” said varsity cheerleader Devyn Kelly. Kelly is talking about fellow cheerleader Teria'le Rawls who was gunned down almost four weeks ago.
    It was hard to tell that the team colors of Riverview High School in Sarasota County were maroon and gray Friday night.Most of the crowd was wearing blue.“Her favorite color was blue,” said varsity cheerleader Devyn Kelly. Kelly is talking about fellow cheerleader Teria'le Rawls who was gunned down almost four weeks ago.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Top StoriesTop StoriesMore>>

  • One Person Dead in Pelham Road Wreck

    One Person Dead in Pelham Road Wreck

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:54 PM EDT2014-08-23 03:54:13 GMT
    The Greenville County Coroner's Office confirms one person is dead after a wreck in the 1700 block of Pelham Road Friday night.The Greenville County Coroner's Office confirms one person is dead after a wreck in the 1700 block of Pelham Road Friday night.
    The Greenville County Coroner's Office confirms one person is dead after a wreck in the 1700 block of Pelham Road Friday night.
    The Greenville County Coroner's Office confirms one person is dead after a wreck in the 1700 block of Pelham Road Friday night.

  • Memorial For Broome Students Held Friday Night

    Memorial For Broome Students Held Friday Night

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:06 PM EDT2014-08-23 03:06:08 GMT
    Principals, students and teachers at Broome High School held a memorial service for three students who have died within the past year.
    Principals, students and teachers at Broome High School held a memorial service for three students who have died within the past year.
  • Trooper Fired After Arrest Of NFL Player In Laurens Co.

    Trooper Fired After Arrest Of NFL Player In Laurens Co.

    Friday, August 22 2014 5:26 PM EDT2014-08-22 21:26:33 GMT
    S.C. Trooper L/Cpl. R.S. Salter who arrested Greenwood Native and now NFL player Sidney "Sam" Montgomery in the Upstate for speedingi in June in Laurens County has been fired.
    S.C. Trooper L/Cpl. R.S. Salter who arrested Greenwood Native and now NFL player Sidney "Sam" Montgomery in the Upstate for speedingi in June in Laurens County has been fired.
Powered by WorldNow

250 International Dr.
Spartanburg, S.C. 29303

Telephone: 864.576.7777
Fax: 864.587.5430
Email: webmaster@wspa.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.