Hillsborough deputy suspended 5 days after fatal Jan. crash involving teenager

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The father of 15-year-old Josiah Pinner says he’s been fighting since January to get justice for his son.

Jesse Pinner tells us he’s shocked that the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s deputy who hit and killed Josiah will not be fired. 

Instead, the deputy faces a five-day suspension without pay.  He is also required to take an advanced driving course.

“I’ll never give up. I’ll forever fight for my son. I’ll forever be his voice,” said Josiah’s father. “I will always be my son’s keeper, always. Until the day I die.”

Tuesday, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office met with the family of the teenager regarding the disciplinary actions taken against 29-year-old Deputy Philip Montesi.

The family was frustrated, furious and heartbroken when they were informed of the decision.

Josiah’s mother told us, “It’s still not enough justice for Josiah. Five days is not worth my son’s life.”

The teen’s father added, “That’s what makes me angry. He took my son and he only gets a five day suspension. Rather me, if I would have hit somebody, I would have a life sentence.”

Pinner was killed Jan. 11 when he was crossing Florida Avenue with a friend near 124th Street in Tampa. The teens were crossing the street outside of the marked crosswalks.

It was previously reported Montesi was traveling at 66 mph in a 45 mph zone as he was working a surveillance detail and was trying to catch up with the other members of his team.  

The teen’s family tell us it’s been a difficult time for them. They admit that today’s decision by HCSO was not what they were hoping for in the end.

Josiah’s grandmother talked about the five-day suspension for the deputy. 

She says it’s not nearly enough punishment. 

“He needs to be arrested. He needs to be charged. He needs to be tried and he needs to be sentenced,” Tammy Pinner told us.

“They’re defending one of their own. If it was one of their own who got killed, it would have been a different story.”

Edward Reyes is the attorney representing the family.

He says he’s glad the sheriff’s office found the deputy negligent. However, he said, the disciplinary actions should have been tougher.

“We want the world to know he was wrong. We want to truly see he felt remorse for his actions,” he Reyes said.

“How do you value a child?  How do you value life? Is it five day suspension? I don’t know. I don’t think five is sufficient. It’s not enough. This determination, I don’t know. We’re not doing an eye for an eye. But, the reprecussion has to be much greater than what it is now.”

The State Attorney’s Office conduced a review of the sheriff’s office investigation and no criminal charges will be filed in the crash.

“Due to the fact that Deputy Montesi’s operation of his vehicle was not during the course of an emergency operation, his actions and conduct are held to the same standards required of any citizen who would have been driving northbound on North Florida Avenue that evening,” the sheriff’s office said in a media release. 

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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