Pointing to a Florida Supreme Court ruling on the definition of a “crash,” an appeals court Friday overturned the conviction of a man who drove away from the scene of a confrontation in which another man had fallen off the car and suffered a fatal head injury.
A three-judge panel of the 5th District Court of Appeal sided in the Volusia County case with Joseph Wayne Daugherty, who had been sentenced to four years in prison for leaving the scene of a crash involving death.
The decision was based on a Supreme Court ruling this year that defined a crash as meaning a “vehicle must collide with another vehicle, person or object.”
The appeals court said the man who died in the Daugherty case had been holding on to the car through an open window during a confrontation and fell off, fatally striking his head on the ground.
The ruling, written by appeals court Judge William Palmer and joined by judges Thomas Sawaya and Jay Cohen, said the Supreme Court “has now held that such an occurrence does not constitute a crash under the statute” and that Daugherty should receive an acquittal.
A news release last year from the State Attorney’s Office in Volusia County said Daugherty, now 31, had been in an altercation with Joshua Krodel, 34.
As Daugherty backed up his car, Krodel fell off and hit his head, the news release said.
Krodel died the next day at a hospital.