Fear kept a Tampa elementary schoolteacher from stopping after her car struck through four young siblings, killing two and injuring two, reports the Tampa Tribune. Jennifer Porter, 28, a popular dance teacher, admitted in her attorney’s office that she was the driver. Porter has not been charged. “You don’t run out and make an arrest based on what you see on TV,” sheriff’s Maj. Greg Brown said.
By leaving the scene, Porter subjected herself to charges that could land her in prison for more than a decade, reports the St. Petersburg Times. To avoid that, Tampa attorney Barry Cohen gathered the media “to begin recasting his client’s public image from cold-hearted coward to frightened young woman who made a bad decision.”
Lawyers not involved in the case said that having a client confess publicly before even being charged indicates the case is headed for a plea deal, not a trial. “At this point, it’s all about mitigation,” defense attorney Joe Episcopo said.
Not every fatal crash warrants criminal charges. If a person drives recklessly and a fatal crash occurs, the driver could be charged with vehicular homicide. If a driver is sober and operating the vehicle safely, the law says some fatal accidents are just that: accidents. Fleeing the scene of a fatal crash is a second-degree felony, even if the driver who leaves did not cause the crash. The charge comes with a maximum 15 years in prison for each count.