JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The chances you’re sharing the road with someone who has a suspended driver’s license is high.
The Florida Highway Patrol said troopers encounter drivers who don’t have valid licenses regularly.
Tuesday’s gruesome crash that injured Jeffrey Morrill, 31, is a reminder of the problem.
The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office arrested Carlton Decosta, 50, in connection with the crash. He’s been charged with leaving the scene of a crash with injuries and driving with a suspended license. Decosta is considered a habitual traffic offender and hasn’t had a valid license since 2005.
“In my opinion, it is kind of a large number these are the people we need to watch out for especially the ones that have the criminal intent,” said FHP spokesperson Sgt. Dylan Bryan.
According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ most recent stats, in 2013 there were nearly 13,000 violations of driving with a suspended license in Duval County. In Clay County there are just over 2,000 and in St. Johns there are more than 1,600.
The majority of the violations were labeled criminal.
“These parties aren't covered by insurance companies, they're not respectful of traffic laws in our state. These are certainly the ones we will consider a hazard,” said Bryan.
Barbara O’Neal said Tuesday’s crash hit close to home for her. She lost her son-in-law, Todd Annis, in 2011 after a driver slammed into the car carrying him and his wife.
The driver had a suspended license at the time and a lengthy driving record. O’Neal said there is only one thing that can help prevent another tragedy.
“They just should spend more time in jail. They need to be off the street because so many times they're given the sentence ‘do not drive’ and just like him, he's out on the road driving,” said O’Neal.
Decosta’s arraignment is scheduled for Sept. 11.