An Arlington man has been sentenced to 10 years probation for failing to stop after he struck a woman with his Jeep as she walked along Interstate 30 in Fort Worth in the early morning hours of Oct. 14, 2012.
During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that Jeffrey Holland was driving when he and a friend left a bar traveling west on I-30. When they neared the Beach Street exit, Holland's 2008 black Jeep Wrangler struck 28-year-old Ladrieka Waggoner as she walked along the shoulder of the freeway.
The impact propelled Waggoner into the guardrail and caused the Jeep's T-top to blow off and the airbags to deploy, but Holland kept driving.
The latest news from around North Texas.
When the sun came up a passerby found Waggoner's body, her personal items were scattered around and a T-top was nearby.
After the body was discovered, a patrol officer recalled seeing the Jeep's T-top blow off and that he had run the vehicle's license plate.
Officers went to Holland's house in Arlington. The Jeep in the driveway had visible damage and bodily fluids on the hood, grill, fender and passenger side door.
When Holland answered the door, he smelled of alcohol and admitted that he had hit something but did not know what it was. He claimed that he returned to the scene but didn't see anything and drove home.
Jurors deliberated a little over an hour on Friday before convicting Holland of an crash involving injury or death - a third-degree felony punishable by probation to 10 years in prison.
The jury sentenced Holland, who had no prior criminal history, to 10 years probation and he must pay a $10,000 fine.
As a condition of his probation, state district Judge Ruben Gonzalez ordered Holland to spend 120 days in a lockdown facility and put up a memorial at the crash site where Waggoner was killed.
"This jury's verdict and sentence reinforces the notion that we owe each other a level of human decency," prosecutor Lloyd Whelchel said in a statement. "When you are involved in [an] accident where someone dies, you do the right thing—you do not leave the scene. This defendant will have the next 10 years to reflect on the decision that he made that morning, and the victim's family can have some measure of peace now."