Across the country, hit and run accidents are on the increase, causing state legislature and local governments to look at stiffen penalties for people who flee from the scene of an accident. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the number of fatal hit-and-run crashes went from 1,274 in 2009, to 1,393 in 2010, to 1,449 in 2011. That was a 13.7% increase in hit-and-run deaths.
An accident on April 13 in The Villages, Florida continues the trend. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 24-year-old John Owen Kiley, of Fruitland, Florida, was driving a Pontiac west on County Road 466A near Buena Vista Boulevard. At the same time, 24-year-old Benjamin Murtagh, of Belleview, Florida, was riding his motorcycle behind Kiley. As the two approached the intersection, Murtagh moved to the left lane. At the same time, Kiley changed lanes and collided with Murtagh. The motorcycle rider was thrown from his bike. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.
Kiley did not stop after the accident. He fled the scene and police began looking for a black Pontiac. They said that the vehicle had a broken left side mirror. Later that day, Kiley contacted law enforcement officials once he learned that police were searching for him. He cooperated with the investigation, and police are expected to file charges in the case.
“Had he stopped at the scene, he might be looking at [a ticket for] an improper lane change,” a Florida Highway Patrol spokesman told local media. “He could be exposed to all kinds of charges.”
Kiley has a checkered driving history, which could have been part of his reason for fleeing the scene of the accident. According to media reports, Kiley has been cited 10 times for moving violations since 2006. Those violations included careless driving and seven times for speeding. He had a violation that took place in a work zone. Fruitland Park or Leesburg police wrote most of the tickets.
Under Florida law, Kiley could face up to 30 years in prison for leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death. He will serve a minimum of 21 months if convicted.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, contact the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A. immediately at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) for a free initial consultation.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.
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