Polk mother pushing for change after losing son in motorcycle crash

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Bartow mother believes justice for her son’s death could come in the form of legislation in Tallahassee.

She says her son Jarrod Naberhaus, 24, was her reason for breathing.

“He was our everything,” said Angela Naberhaus. “He was our best friend. He was our travel buddy. The loss, the emptiness, the despair we feel is indescribable.”

Courtesy Angela Naberhaus

Jarrod Naberhaus was a scuba instructor and had a lifelong passion for underwater photography.

He died in late September while riding his motorcycle on South Florida Ave and Alamo Drive in Lakeland.

A driver failed to yield while making a turn, police say. Speeding was not a factor.

Courtesy Angela Naberhaus

The crash remains under investigation pending toxicology results.

Since her son’s death, Naberhaus quickly learned about traffic laws. She feels drivers who are at fault in fatal crashes are not held accountable in the state of Florida.

For a driver to be found guilty of vehicular homicide, prosecutors must prove the driving was reckless, which can be a high standard.

“In Florida, traffic fatalities are not looked at as criminal. If you are not impaired in the state of Florida, with alcohol or drugs, then it is a traffic violation,” said Naberhaus.

She is advocating for Florida to pass the “Vulnerable Road User Act.”

It would stiffen the penalties for people at fault in crashes involving serious injury or death.

The driver would be placed on house arrest, pay a fine and have his/her license suspended for a specified period of time.

It’s a cause also being taken up by Abate of Florida, Inc., a motorcyclist rights organization.

“When you kill somebody and taking their lives, somebody who is a dad, a brother, a son, or something like that. It’s easy for people to say ‘I didn’t see him!'”

Naberhaus has been working with local state Sen. Kelli Stargel to get the Vulnerable Road User Act passed.

Her office says the bill has been referred to several committees but no agenda has been set at this time.

You can follow Naberhaus’ journey to get the bill passed by following the Justice 4 Jarrod page on Facebook.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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