PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – An 18-year-old is behind bars after crashing into a woman and killing her while fleeing law enforcement in Pinellas County Thursday evening.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said Jamar Johnson fled from deputies when they tried to stop him in Pinellas Park. Deputies said his car was missing a tag light and he was violating window tint laws.
Johnson began driving at a high rate of speed on Park Boulevard and continued southbound on I-275.
Deputies said he abruptly crossed three lanes of heavy traffic, then got off in St. Petersburg on the 5th Avenue North exit and started driving toward 20th Street North.
There, he ran a red traffic light and hit a 2013 Honda Accord that had entered the intersection on a green light.
The collision sent Johnson’s vehicle spinning into 30-year-old Jee-esta J. Shurock who was walking in the designated crosswalk at 5th Avenue at 20th Street North.
Shurock sustained serious injuries and was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
It was 2 a.m. Friday morning when Shurock’s father, John Lawton, heard about his daughter’s death
“She was a good person,” he said. “I don’t know what it’s going to take for him to understand what he did last night but he destroyed a couple of lives last night.”
Lawton is now trying to help his grandson, 11-year-old Lars, cope with the loss of his mother.
“Kind of so, so right now. He’s struggling. He’s gonna be for a while,” Lawton said. “It’s kind of hard on a kid that age.”
The other driver was not hurt.
Johnson was hospitalized with non-life-threatening injuries, then booked into the Pinellas County Jail.
He is charged with one count of vehicular homicide, one count of fleeing & eluding, one count of leaving the scene of a crash with death, and one count of leaving the scene of a crash with property damage.
Investigators say speed does appear to be a factor in the case.
Shurock’s family have created a Go Fund Me account to help pay for funeral cost.