Joel Ross Hamlar of Pompano Beach, Florida was arrested for his alleged involvement in a March car accident that killed Deborah Etienne and maimed her 15-year-old son, Jameson Etienne. Hamlar, 27, is facing 29 charges including reckless driving, possession of drugs, and DUI manslaughter.
Hamlar was arrested last Thursday after prosecutors learned he was planning to travel to Michigan, which made him a flight risk. He was ordered held without bond by Broward Judge Michael Davis during his first-appearance court session last Friday. News sources did not name an attorney for Hamlar.
According to the arrest report, the alleged car crash occurred in Oakland Park near North Dixie Highway and Northeast 56th Street. Hamlar was reportedly driving home in his 2008 Buick Enclave after a three-day party in South Beach when he swerved onto the sidewalk. He allegedly struck Deborah Etienne, 55, and her then 14-year-old son, Jameson Etienne, before crashing into a utility pole.
The impact threw Etienne on the road and pinned her teenage son between Hamlar’s car and a utility pole. The 55-year-old mother was pronounced dead on the scene. Her son suffered severe trauma and had to have his left leg amputated.
Detective Morales from Broward sheriff’s office told Judge Michael Davis on Friday that at least three people reportedly witnessed the accident. All three provided consistent details from different vantage points.
One witness claims Hamlar appeared to have “passed out” while he was driving. Another witness said she saw Hamlar run a red light before driving onto a sidewalk and crashing into a utility pole. She did not see if he struck any pedestrians.
Police who arrived on the scene said Hamlar appeared to be disoriented when they spoke to him. Hamlar allegedly told them that he was tired after the three-day event in South Beach and reportedly admitted to have smoked marijuana.
Police allegedly found bags containing marijuana and methamphetamine, a portable grinder containing a green plant-like substance, and other drug paraphernalia in Hamlar’s vehicle. His toxicology report came back positive for ketamine, amphetamine, norketamine, and cannabinoids.