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Teen driver charged in fatal wreck
He was speeding when he hit, killed a man on a moped, authorities say.
By Amber Mobley Times Staff Writer
Published October 19, 2007
The 2005 Nissan 350Z was driving was going so fast, officials say, that the teen lost control and crossed the center line on Countryway Boulevard into oncoming traffic. It then crashed into a moped before plunging into a nearby pond.
[Daniel Wallace | Times]
TAMPA - A 16-year-old Alonso High School sophomore has been charged with vehicular homicide for his role in a recent crash that killed a moped driver.
John Holland Jr. was speeding, said Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office spokesman J.D. Callaway.
Authorities are still investigating exactly how fast Holland was driving on the afternoon of Sept. 26, but they are sure he was going "far above the 30 mph posted," said Callaway.
The 2005 Nissan 350Z he was driving was going so fast, officials say, that Holland lost control and crossed the center line on Countryway Boulevard into oncoming traffic.
He crashed into a moped driven by 49-year-old Robert Jeff Baughman, killing him near Woodbay Drive in Westchase before plunging into a nearby pond.
Holland and passenger Trevor Ekovich, also 16, escaped the submerged car uninjured.
"It was excessive speed," said Callaway, "which constitutes a willful and wanton disregard for safety."
Holland turned himself in to the Juvenile Assessment Center at 4 p.m. Wednesday, but was scheduled to be released into his parents' custody Thursday evening, Callaway said.
Holland has a clean driving record, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. He will be on house arrest until his first juvenile court hearing on Nov. 6, Callaway said.
Holland is at least the seventh teenage driver involved in a fatal crash in the Tampa Bay area since February. He is being charged as a juvenile. Vehicular homicide is a felony.
"It's crazy how things can just happen like that," said Michael Mattiaccio, a 15-year-old Alonso sophomore who sees this as a cautionary tale. "We need to be more careful."
For Holland's friend Cameron Marsh, the charges did not come as a surprise. "I kind of figured," said the 16-year-old. "It stinks for him that that happened, but everybody makes mistakes."
Since the crash, Holland has "seemed pretty up in spirits," Mattiaccio said.
Times researcher Angie Holan contributed to this report. Amber Mobley can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 813 269-5311.