Jared Jones, a hit and run victim from the University of Miami, died in Coral Gables, Florida early this morning. For those who may not have heard, Jared Jones sustained severe head injuries from a hit and run accident on November 13 that left him in a coma until he died early this morning. Eye witnesses claim that Jared was crossing the intersection of Red Road and Blue Road when he was struck by a car. The driver, however, did not remain on scene or render aid to Jared.
So far, this hit and run driver has not been identified and no arrests have been made.
As a fellow Hurricane, I am urging anyone with information about this case to contact the Coral Gables Police Department or Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. The Coral Gables Police Department can be reached at: 305-442-1600.
My job as a criminal lawyer gives me a perspective on this case that is different from other attorneys. Given my line of work, I routinely deal with police investigators, especially when it comes to traffic criminal offenses, such as hit and run cases.
Clearly, for Jared’s family, the most important thing right now is to catch the driver who is responsible for this terrible accident. This is not an easy task and is one that is unfortunately blundered by some police investigators.
Cases like these require tremendous attention to detail. Especially when they involved a hit and run victim who was killed.
First, police must scour the scene of the hit and run accident for eye-witnesses. Not only must this be done as soon as police arrive to the scene of the accident, but it would be prudent to return to the scene at a later date to identify eye witnesses that may not have wanted to come forward before. While most people shy away from police investigators, some will come forward after they find out the hit and run victim was killed.
Next, police investigators need to be very aggressive about obtaining any available surveillance videos. Red light cameras, ATM videos, outdoor cameras, and the like may may have captured all or part of the hit and run accident and may provide investigators with clues about the vehicle or the driver that can crack this case. Scouring the scene for such cameras is very important in hit and run cases.
Police must also consider the possibility that the license plate information provided to them has no real evidentiary value. Just because a partial plate identification was obtained, does not mean police will automatically locate the other driver.
According to eye witnesses, Jared Jones was hit by an elderly man driving a gray or silver 4-door sedan, which may have been an Oldsmobile. One eye witness claims that the vehicle’s license plate included the letters “X64.”
While this information is very important to police and it may help investigators find the elderly man by cross referencing this information with State motor vehicle records, it also presents an interesting problem that exists in South Florida.
Namely, the tag in question may not belong to the car it attached to. It may have been a stolen tag or an invalid tag.
To understand the nature of this problem, one has to first wonder why a driver would not stop and render aid when involved in a serious car accident.
In my experience as a criminal lawyer, the reasons can be many, but there are two that I encounter most: 1) The person responsible for the accident is an “illegal alien” who feared being arrested and possibly deported, and/or 2) The person responsible for the accident has an active arrest warrant or is on probation.
If the elderly man who hit Jared Jones is not legal, then odds are he was either driving someone else’s car or had an invalid tag or stolen tag placed on the vehicle. If he was driving someone else’s car at the time of the hit and run, locating him may not be impossible, especially if police can narrow down their search to all registered 4 door sedans, gray/silver in color, with license plates that include the letters “X64.”
However, if the elderly man was driving his own vehicle and he is not a legal resident, odds are he had a stolen tag. As an “illegal alien,” this elderly man would not be able to register his vehicle with the State of Florida or obtain a valid driver’s license. If this scenario is true here, then police will not be able to locate the man by tracking down his license plate because it will simply not match him or the car in question.
For those who are not aware, there is a huge black market for stolen tags in South Florida. This black market exists because illegal aliens are not allowed to get driver’s licenses or vehicle registrations.
To be clear, I am not commenting in any way on the politics of immigration. I am merely pointing out a reality that exists in this community.
If you live in an area like South Florida, you have little choice but to drive a car. Getting around our metro areas is nearly impossible by bus and we do not have subways.
As a result, many illegal immigrants turn to the black market so they can drive. By purchasing a stolen tag off the street, a person is able to make their car look passable and will only have a problem if they commit a traffic infraction,are involved in a car accident, or have the misfortune if driving in front of a police officer that decides to randomly run their tag.
Regardless, the point of mentioning all of this is to highlight the need for police to be creative in hit and run cases like Jared Jones’. The harder it is to find the person responsible, the more creative police investigators need to get. This level of dedication is important to the hit and run victim and his or her family.
Hospitals and auto repair shops may also be a source of valuable information. Given the extensive nature of this accident, there is a great probability that the elderly man was injured and his car likely sustained some serious damage. If so, there is a chance he may seek medical attention at one of the local hospitals and/or he may take his car to a local repair shop.
It is sometimes amazing how close to home criminals will travel out of convenience, even when it can lead police directly to them.
If police do catch this hit and run driver, he will undoubtedly be facing serious criminal charges for leaving the scene of an accident with serious bodily injuries. Since this accident in the death of the hit and run victim, this man will certainly be facing felony charges for his conduct.
Since eye witnesses described the hit and run driver as “elderly,” the first question that comes to mind concerns this man’s mental competence. How old was he? Is he one of these completely senile drivers that has no business operating a motor vehicle? Was he under the influence of any medications that could have impaired his ability to drive? Was he under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs? If so, there is a chance this case may turn into a prosecution for DUI Manslaughter.
Many questions are yet to be answered. Hit and run cases can be very frustrating, especially when the hit and run victim is so young. I genuinely hope for Jared Jones’ sake and for the sake of his family, that this person is caught and brought to justice as soon as possible.