Saturday, July 11, 2009

Teen surrenders at jail in homeless hit-and-run case

Five months after a fatal hit-and-run, 17-year-old Jordan Valdez surrendered for booking into the county jail. She faces one count of leaving the scene of an accident with death, a first-degree felony that carries a maximum punishment of 30 years in prison.

Prosecutors decided to charge Valdez as an adult "based on the nature of the crime," Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi said. She would not comment further.

Prosecutors have offered Valdez a plea deal that doesn't include prison time, said her attorney, Ty Trayner.

Melissa Sjostrom, the 33-year-old homeless woman who died in the crash, had been walking across a Tampa street about 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 8 when she was hit by the vehicle Valdez now admits was was driving.

Detectives matched a red paint chip from the scene to a vehicle with front-end damage in front of the Valdez home.

Read the St. Petersburg Times reports here and here. And check out the Times' story of how a life of promise collided with a life in ruins.


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