Saturday, Dec 20, 2014

Driver in fatal St. Pete hit-and-run turns himself in

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Published:   |   Updated: June 30, 2014 at 08:56 PM

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The car driver sought in the hit-and-run crash that killed three young mothers in St. Petersburg turned himself in to authorities Monday.

Marquice Lamonz Anderson, 27, surrendered at the Pinellas County Jail about 11:20 a.m. accompanied by his attorney, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said. A judge had issued a bench warrant identifying him as a suspect Thursday, the day of the early morning crash.

“I think he understands the severity of the situation, the severity of the charges,” said Dyril Flanagan, Anderson’s attorney. “It’s been his intent to turn himself in and address the issue.”

Flanagan said Anderson may have waited several days out of concern for his personal safety, given the extensive news coverage of the crash and the widespread outrage it sparked.

Anderson faces one count of vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of an crash involving death, driving with a suspended or revoked license, and violating probation. Other charges may be pending.

Donar’s misleading information hindered efforts to find Anderson, investigators said. But police spokesman Mike Puetz said Donar and another passenger in the car provided information that helped police identify Anderson as the suspect.

Puetz said Donar’s father had rented the 2012 Chrysler that Anderson was driving in the fiery crash that killed Grace Lashawn Collier, 25, and her nieces, Briana Lequinda Campbell, 23, and Jame’sia Chera Santoria Lang, 21. The three women, each of whom had at least one child, were said to be inseparable.

About 3 a.m. Thursday, the women were headed home from Club One South Bar, 1833 First Ave. S., the same time Anderson left in his car.

Anderson was driving on the wrong side of the road, parallel to the Saturn that Collier was driving. When Collier attempted to make a left turn at 16th Street and Fifth Avenue South, the Chrysler hit the car and ruptured the gas tank. The car burst into flames. Collier was ejected partially from the car, but her nieces were trapped and died at the scene. Collier later died at Tampa General Hospital.

Members of the family who gathered outside Campbell’s home Monday afternoon declined to comment on Anderson’s arrest. It is unclear whether he knew the victims, but Flanagan said he doubts it.

Anderson has had more than a dozen arrests since 2006, most on charges of drug possession or sale charges. Flanagan declined to say whether his client displayed remorse about the crash, but he did say it was clear that he understands the gravity of the situation.

“It’s a tragedy. Everybody’s life is going to change dramatically as a result of this situation,” Flanagan said. “This kind of tragedy lives on eternally. ... It’s very sad.”

kbradshaw@tampatrib.com

(727) 215-7999

Twitter: @kbradshawTBO

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