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November 17, 2009

An Orlando man accused of causing an auto accident that claimed the life of another man entered a guilty plea recently. The accused was allegedly involved in an illegal street race that killed a bystander watching the race.

“I want to say I’m so sorry to (the victim’s mother),” the man said after sentencing. After the accused made that statement, Judge Roger McDonald made an unusual request that stunned many in the courtroom—including the accused man’s mother.

“Mothers, come on up. Why don’t you embrace?” asked the judge, requesting the victim’s mother and the defendant’s mother to hug each other. “What I ask you to do, to embrace each other, not only as you just did, but I highly recommend you work together,” the judge added.

The judge exhorted the two mothers to work together to put an end to street racing. The defendant told the judge and others in the courtroom that he plans to fight illegal street racing when he gets out of prison. Then he faced the accident victim’s mother and said,

“I feel sorry for this nightmare I have created out of this. I feel horrible knowing I was the cause of death of (the deceased.)”

The victim’s mother responded to the apology saying, “To help another kid from getting hit, we will do it. We will welcome his family in and take whatever ideas we have so we can make it stronger and make this law go through.”

The accident occurred on June 14 and the defendant turned himself in to authorities three days later on June 17. Prosecutors in the auto accident case claimed that the defendant had tried to hide evidence by making a claim to his auto insurance company. While the victim’s family believed a charge of vehicular homicide would have been appropriate, the defendant pled guilty to the lesser charge of causing an accident that resulted in death. The defendant claimed that he did not see the victim walk out in front of his speeding car. He received a two-year prison sentence and five years of probation.

Anyone engaging in illegal street racing is operating their vehicle in a grossly negligent manner and putting the people around them at risk. Orlando pedestrian accident attorney James O. Cunningham has been helping pedestrian accident victims and their families obtain the financial compensation they deserve for well over 32 years. If you or a loved one incurred injuries or if a loved one died in a Central Florida pedestrian accident, call Orlando auto accident lawyer James O. Cunningham today.

James O. Cunningham

Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.

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Lakeland, FL 33803
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Winter Haven, FL 33881
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Tampa, FL 33606
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Fruitland Park, FL 34731
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