A man in St. Augustine, St. Johns County, Florida was arrested after he allegedly hit and killed a pedestrian with his vehicle and fled the scene of the accident according to an article on News4Jax.com. The article indicates the suspect struck Brian Stevenot near U.S. 1 and killed him. The suspect then allegedly drove away from the scene to try and remove the evidence of the accident from his vehicle. A friend later went to the police and reported the fact that the suspect hit the man and then was attempting to clean his vehicle and remove the parts that showed damage from the crash. Based on the friend’s statement to police, the suspect was arrested for vehicular homicide and tampering with evidence.
In Florida, it is illegal to be involved in any sort of traffic accident that results in property damage or injury and then fail to remain at the scene for the police to investigate the crash and provide information. If a person does leave the scene after such an accident, he/she can be charged with anything from a misdemeanor to a serious felony depending on the severity of the crash. The purpose of the law, of course, is to avoid situations like this where it becomes very difficult for police to determine how the accident occurred if the person involved in the accident does not stay around to speak with police. Additionally, breath and blood tests to determine if the driver was impaired are not effective if they are done too long after the crash.
The tampering with evidence charge addresses a person who attempts to conceal or alter evidence that would be helpful to the police in proving the crime. If a person commits a crime and then takes steps to conceal or alter evidence of the crime, he/she can be charged with the additional crime of tampering with evidence. Of course, the tampering with evidence charge also serves to help the state prove the underlying crime. It is easier for the state to prove a person committed a crime when there is evidence that the same person took steps to tamper with the evidence.