James Alexander Walker of Jupiter, Florida was arrested on October 28 for his alleged involvement in a fatal hit-and-run accident that killed Wesley Scott Walker in Riviera Beach. There is no indication that the two men are related. James, 34, was reportedly going 84 mph in a 45 mph zone when the accident occurred.
James faces charges of vehicular manslaughter and failing to stop at a hit-and-run crash involving a death. He is being held in lieu of a $105,000 bond at Palm Beach County Jail. News sources did not name a lawyer for Walker.
According to the police report, the accident occurred on October 15 near The Rapids Water Park on 4500 North Military Trail. Wesley Scott Walker, 28, was crossing the road when James allegedly struck and killed him.
The day after the accident, an unidentified man told Juno Beach police that the vehicle involved in the accident was a rented Hyundai Sonata. The man claimed to have been drinking with James at a West Palm Beach strip club on the day of the fatal accident, after which James, drunk, allegedly drove off in his rented Hyundai.
Police reportedly found the car abandoned with its airbags deployed on 9100 North Military Trail. James was found at his Jupiter home; he denied operating a vehicle at the time of the crash, saying he was with a friend. However, the friend reportedly denied being with James.
Investigators obtained a search warrant allowing them to take a sample of James’s DNA and compare it to the DNA found inside the rented Hyundai. However, when they arrived at James’s home, he was reporedly nowhere to be found. He had allegedly sold all his belongings and fled the country to “thwart criminal prosecution.”
James was arrested two weeks later at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport when he returned from the Bahamas. The Hyundai’s black box revealed that it was driven at 84mph before the fatal accident.
According to Florida’s department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, the number of hit-and-run crashes in the state has remained steady over the past decade. The majority of these crashes only result in property damage, but it’s estimated that 180 people were killed in hit-and-run crashes in 2015.
There were over 92,000 hit-and-run crashes in Florida last year that resulted in 19,000 injuries, with more than 1,200 involving serious body harm. Under Florida law, a driver must immediately stop their vehicle at the scene of a crash which results in injury or death. Leaving the scene of a crash carries a mandatory minimum of four years in prison.
Source: 11.2.16 Walker Hit and Run.pdf