MIAMI (CBSMiami) — A former model accused of leaving the scene after a hit-and-run accident that killed a UM student had her plea offer rejected Thursday.
CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald reports a judge rejected the plea offer that would have sentenced Valentina Hubsch to community service and probation for the 2010 accident, which killed 21-year-old UM student Paul Jones.
On Nov. 13, 2010, Jones was running through traffic on Red Road near 45th Street. Friends say he had taken LSD, and multiple 911 calls report seeing a crazy man “in the middle of the road trying to get people to run him over,” according to a report from the state prosecutor.
Hubsch was driving north on Red Road when she hit something, “so sudden and so frightening that I don’t know exactly what happened,” she told police later. She briefly pulled over, but didn’t get out of her car. She drove home and didn’t call 911.
The following day, she contacted the Coral Gables Police Department through her lawyer, Albert Levin, to turn herself in.
Jones died from his injuries 10 days later.
Leaving the scene of an accident with a death carries a minimum mandatory sentence that includes jail time. After investigating the facts of the case, the state prosecutors determined that they couldn’t prove that Hubsch knew she had hit a person, and reduced the charge to leaving the scene of an accident with injuries, which could – but does not have to – include jail time if the defendant is found guilty.
At issue in Thursday’s proceeding was whether Hubsch knew she had hit a person, and also if she was too afraid to stop.
After hearing emotional requests for justice from Jones’ family and the reasons for the plea deal from the state prosecutors, Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chamot rejected the plea offer.
“I believe that the judge heard us and he understood,” said Betsy Jones, the mother of the victim. “This is a difficult case, and our concern is not to blame her for hitting out son, but so that other people know that it’s not OK to hit a person and drive away.”
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