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Driver in fatal Thanksgiving Day crash charged with vehicular manslaughter

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Demiko Montrell White, Jr., 24, has been charged with two counts of vehicular manslaughter – negligent, two counts of DUI vehicular manslaughter – negligent, driving with a suspended driver’s license – habitual offender, and marijuana possession, on top of the existing charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. The charges are related to a crash on I-75 on Thanksgiving morning that killed two High Springs residents, a 13-year-old girl and an 83-year-old woman.

According to a release from Florida Highway Patrol, at about 10:40 a.m., a 23-year-old (at the time) St. Petersburg man, with a 21-year-old male passenger, also of St. Petersburg, was driving a black sedan south in the center lane on I-75 at mile marker 397. The sedan tried to change lanes into the right lane and struck the left side of a semi truck driven by a 38-year-old man from Clermont. At the time, an SUV driven by a 55-year-old High Springs man was traveling south in the left lane. The SUV’s other passengers included a 50-year-old High Springs woman, the 13-year-old, and the 83-year-old.

When the sedan struck the semi truck, it swerved toward the left lane and struck the right rear of the SUV, which caused the SUV to swerve onto the shoulder and overturn several times, resulting in the fatalities.

In spite of having an outstanding warrant out of Orange County, White was released on $15,000 bond four days after the accident. Following an investigation, an arrest warrant was issued on December 15, 2021, and on January 6, 2022, White had contact with members of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, who arrested him on the warrant and added two counts of resisting arrest without violence.

According to the arrest report from Pinellas County, White refused to get on the ground when ordered by detectives. The report states that White refused to follow clear commands from deputies wearing clearly marked clothing and turned away, walking toward an elevator. Several deputies took him to the ground, where he continued to resist by tensing and bracing, refusing to comply with orders to give deputies his hands. After a brief struggle, he was taken into custody.

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Because the arrest violated his pretrial custody agreement, his bond on the previous Alachua County charge was revoked, and bond has been set at $1,021,000 on the new charges. White was transferred to the Orange County Jail on January 25, where he remains. He is scheduled to be in court in Alachua County on April 4.

Articles about arrests are based on reports from law enforcement agencies. The charges listed are taken from the arrest report and/or court records and are only accusations. All suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

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