Florida jury acquits driver in retrial of fatal 2017 crash

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A driver in a crash that killed a college soccer player in 2017 was acquitted by a jury during a retrial that centered around a dispute over speed calculations.

The jury decided on Tuesday that Kevin Brown, 29, was not guilty of vehicular homicide in the death of Eric Tarmey, 23, the South Florida SunSentinel reported.

The prosecution argued that Brown was speeding 90 mph (144 kph) near West Palm Beach before hitting the the passenger side of Tarmey’s car. The speed limit along that stretch is 45 mph (72 kph).

“This was not an accident in no way, shape or form,” Assistant State Attorney Amy Berkman told jurors. “This was a violent crash. This was a devastation.”

The defense said investigators severely miscalculated Brown’s speed during a reconstruction of the accident.

“We don’t convict on junk science,” Brown’s attorney, Greg Rosenfeld, told jurors during closing arguments.

He was referring to the use of a measurement tool called a drag sled, which resembles a tire cut in half with weights and is pulled across a road to obtain the amount of friction existing between a moving vehicle and the ground, the newspaper reported.

Instead, Rosenfeld argued that Brown’s actual speed was between 50 and 60 mph (80 to 96 kph).

“This tragedy is absolutely not a vehicular homicide. It was a bad accident,” Rosenfeld said.

Brown was heading home from work on Feb. 3, 2017. Tarmey was making a left turn to head east in the entrance of Keiser University, where he studied sports management and was on his way to visit friends.

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Prosecutors said Brown sped around a car in front of him, moving at 120 feet per second before slamming into Tarmey.

Brown testified that he hit the brakes but couldn’t avoid the car turning in front of him. He suffered leg and head injuries in the crash.

“Convicting Kevin Brown of a crime he didn’t commit isn’t going to bring Eric Tarmey back,” Rosenfeld said.

First published on: AP

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