A 23-year-old was speeding and driving with a suspended license in Boynton Beach when he struck and killed 5-year-old Jayden Readon, but the boy’s death was a horrific tragedy and not a criminal act, his attorney told a jury.
The 23-year old is charged with vehicular homicide, driving without a license, causing death or serious injury, leaving the scene of a crash involving death and aggravated fleeing and eluding.
An assistant public defender said during opening arguments, that the 23-year-old was “absolutely guilty” of unsafe driving, but not of vehicular homicide.
“Accidents happen,” the defender said. “Just because he made a mistake driving with a suspended license, and just because he made a mistake driving fast, doesn’t render everything else that happened criminal in nature.”
Prosecutors voiced a different version of the accused actions, saying the Boynton Beach man was fleeing a traffic stop when he lost control of his 2008 Buick SUV at the intersection of Summit Road and Miner Road and struck the child, who was walking on the sidewalk with family members.
The incident that led to Jayden’s death began when a Boynton Beach police officer observed the 23-year-old speeding in a 2008 Buick SUV on Federal Highway. The police official was unable to pull the SUV over but found it parked at a convenience store on Gateway Boulevard.
The 23-year-old took off after seeing the patrol car, racing north on Federal Highway then west on Miner Road at speeds near 60 mph. Police said the 23-year-old attempted to make a right turn onto Summit Boulevard at a high rate of speed, causing him to lose control of the vehicle.
The Buick went over a sidewalk and struck Jayden, who was walking to a nearby park with his great grandparents and younger brother. The force of the crash sent Jayden’s body into the air before he landed in a ditch 20 feet away. A medical examiner testified that Jayden likely turned his head and looked at the SUV an instant before it hit him.
The 23-year-old wasn’t done there, prosecutors say. After hitting the boy and driving his vehicle into a ditch, he allegedly escaped the smashed SUV through a window and attempted to run away before he was arrested. He has been held in the Palm Beach County Jail without bond since his arrest.
County Medical Examiner Michael Bell testified that Jayden died as the result of head and neck injuries, including a severed spinal cord.
Accident attorney Jason Weisser of Schuler, Halvorson, Weisser, Zoeller and Overbeck responded to this unfortunate crash. “This is a serious accident resulting in a fatality. We hope the investigators can quickly determine what caused the accident. Please be careful and obey the speed limits whenever you are driving a motorcycle, car, SUV or truck. We hope that all parties involved consult with an experienced trial lawyer. If you have been injured in an accident, call my office for a free consultation and find out what your rights are.”
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