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Driver who caused Thanksgiving fatal accident arrested on weapon possession charge, had extensive criminal/traffic history

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Demiko Montrell White, Jr., 23, of St. Petersburg, was arrested yesterday on a charge of possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. It turns out that the driver is also wanted on a warrant out of Orange County (for violating probation by getting arrested on a battery charge in Leon County) and was sentenced to probation in Pinellas County just 3 days before the accident (for violating a previous probation by failing a drug test), with the provision that he could not leave Pinellas County without permission from his probation officer.

Alachua County Sheriff’s Deputies (along with Florida Highway Patrol, Alachua Police Department, and High Springs Police Department) responded at 10:44 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day to a crash on I-75 that caused an SUV to roll over. Two occupants of the SUV, a 13-year-old girl and 83-year-old woman from High Springs, were ejected and killed in the accident.

Deputies learned from Florida Highway Patrol that the driver of the car that caused the crash had an out-of-county warrant. The alleged driver, Demiko White, also had a suspended driver’s license. When the vehicle was searched, a handgun was found in the glove box, and a small bag of marijuana was found. A search of the driver’s criminal history revealed that White is a convicted felon with an active warrant out of Orange County.

White’s passenger stated that the handgun and marijuana were not his, and he didn’t know who they belonged to. The passenger was not arrested.

Post Miranda, White agreed to answer questions, and he was asked if he was driving the vehicle involved in the accident. He said, “Y’all already know who was driving, I spoke with a trooper.” The deputy said he needed to re-interview him, then White said he was not the one driving the vehicle. The deputy asked if he was in the passenger seat, and White said, “I never said that.” The deputy then advised White that a handgun was found in the passenger side glove box, to which White reportedly replied, “Oh, no, I was driving.” White said he had no knowledge of the handgun. When asked how the handgun had ended up in the glove box, White said, “It has always been there.” The deputy reminded White that as a convicted felon, he cannot be around any type of firearms, and White reportedly said, “That’s ok, I can beat it.”

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The deputy wrote that due to the conflicting stories told by White, there was probably cause to arrest him.

The Orange County warrant dates from an arrest on April 27, 2021, in which the arresting officer reported that White was driving 100 mph on SR 408. That officer pulled this from White’s driving record:

White was adjudicated guilty on the traffic charge and placed on probation for 360 days on May 13. White was then arrested on July 29 in Tallahassee for battery after he got into a fight at a club, then allegedly bit the security guard who tried to escort him out. The arrest report says White qualified for a Notice to Appear, so he was not booked into the jail. His next scheduled court date in Leon County is December 7. The warrant from Orange County was issued on October 13 and recommends that White be incarcerated for a “moderate” amount of time for the probation violation.

White was convicted of felony possession of cocaine and marijuana on August 1, 2016, and sentenced to 6 months probation with the “special condition” that probation would terminate on jail release, which occurred on August 3, 2016. Probation was officially terminated on August 12, 2016. He was cited for careless driving in 2016. His driver’s license was revoked in 2017 for a year as part of a sentence for possession of marijuana; he also received one day of jail time. In January of 2018, he was sentenced to one day (time served) on a charge of battery. In February 2018, he was arrested for possession of marijuana and sentenced in April to 90 days, with credit for 71 days time served. That sentence was concurrent with another sentence from a February 2018 charge of leaving the scene of a traffic accident with property damage.

White had multiple traffic citations in 2019, along with a felony battery charge. In February 2020, he was sentenced to 60 days in jail and 24 months probation for the battery charge. In March 2020, he was charged with felony fleeing and eluding, and his driver’s license was revoked again, along with a sentence of 60 days in jail. It’s unclear why he was driving on March 11 when he was committed to the jail for 60 days on February 6.

In September 2021, he violated his probation on the felony battery charge by not making any payments toward the cost of supervision and failing a drug test (cocaine). Three days before the accident, he was sentenced to 24 months probation. One of the conditions of that probation was to not leave Pinellas County without the permission of his probation officer.

  • Ugh… This guy, with his constant attempts to lie and obfuscate, sounds like a real piece of work… And this sounds like another case of our criminal justice system letting the bad guys go until they actually kill someone…
    The other thought I have when reading this story is that everybody should wear a seat belt when driving/being a passenger in a motor vehicle. I wonder if these two people who died would have survived the crash if they had not been ejected from their vehicle…

    • Read more articles. They were wearing seat belts. I wonder if people just assume they know what happened.

    • The fast way? You mean lethal injection or the chair??
      He ain’t never getting out.

        • You have lost your mind. He’s had many many chances to change for the better. He hasn’t. He killed two ppl then sat on the side of the road acting like nothing happened at all. A 13 year old girl is dead. Get a grip. He was driving a suspended license.

  • Can y’all include what happened to cause the accident??? All I see is what he did prior to the accident!!!!! Do y’all know what happened! Y’all love you included someone’s prior history!!! If it had nothing to do with the current charge leave it out!! Air your dirty laundry!!! Don’t get it twisted if he was negligent he needs to face the consequences!!! Wrong is wrong!!

    • There is another article posted with the details of the accident. This is a follow up article to that.

    • I read in the previous article the details of the accident. They may still have it posted. It’s sad no matter how you see it. Prayers for the loved ones.

    • The Chronicle loves prior history—sometimes. Some folks are off limits. For example a liberal Democrat James Thompson got a DUI and they did such a smear piece on him he killed himself. Yet look at their own daily jail booking logs. 11/19 Decoursey. 11/24 Clovis Watson IV. Hmmm. Names look familiar? Does an apple fall far from the tree? Would make an interesting follow up story. Why does it not show up??????

      • 1) All of the local news agencies (WCJB, Gainesville Sun, etc.) also look into prior history, as do any mainstream media outlets when it comes to national news.
        2) “It” doesn’t show up because they didn’t kill anyone in the process. This criminal should’ve been locked up prior to this. You can tell by his last comment (“That’s ok, I can beat it.”) that he’s been in the system prior and been released for any infraction of the law.

    • He was driving in and out of traffic while speeding for at least 20 miles. He was not paying attention and hit the side of a semi truck. His actions took innocent peoples lives. His record shows that it was only a matter of time until he hurt himself or someone else.

  • This trash article would have you believe that a man with priors for driving on suspended is anything guilty but it is a victims-less crime. According to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), nearly 4.6 million Florida drivers have suspended or revoked licenses – nearly 30 percent of the state’s population. The DMV makes you jump thru a impossible series of hoops to reinstate your license. Secondly there are more guns in Florida than people everyone needs a gun and everyone has a gun. That need doesn’t change when you are convicted of a felony. I would rather have it on me and fight the charge than not have it when I needed it. Suspended License? OK Gun? Fine by me Marijuana? once again the criminal justice system is the problem we as a nation shouldn’t lock people in cages for possession of a plant with mild psycoactive properties. If he was at fault only time will tell.

    • From another report:

      “Three vehicles were southbound — a sedan driven by a 23-year-old St. Petersburg man was in the center lane, a tractor-trailer driven by a 38-year-old Clermont man was in the right lane beside the sedan and an SUV driven by a 55-year-old High Springs man was in the left lane, FHP reported.

      The sedan driver went into the right lane, struck the side of the tractor-trailer and traveled into the left lane, hitting the back of the SUV.

      FHP reported the SUV overturned several times. Both of those who died were passengers and wearing seatbelts. Another passenger, a 50-year-old High Springs woman, had serious injuries. The driver had minor injuries.

      Neither the sedan driver nor the trucker were injured.”

      Cleary, from the man’s previous driving history and disregard for consequences, he doesn’t need to be behind the wheel of a vehicle. I dare you to tell the family that him driving was a “victimless crime”!

    • Victimless crime? You have to be kidding or wrote that wrong! Two lives were taken! If he was not violating the conditions of his probation the accident wouldn’t have happened.

    • Not impossible to have your license reinstated. The criminal justice system exists because there are criminals. As far as having the right to own a firearm as a convicted felon…that right is forfeited when a person commits a felony.

      Here’s a question for you. If someone is driving with a suspended/revoked license and they kill a family member or someone you care about, think you’ll be forgiving or be like one those who look for that tax free paycheck?

    • Are you serious??!! Victimless crime??! Are you stupid? That piece of shit killed TWO innocent people.

  • More excuses from bleeding heart liberals for people who have no respect for other people or the law. When other people are hurt from their actions they say it wasn’t their fault society let them down. This twisted way of thinking is why we’re where we are. What happened in Wisconsin with the driver who killed innocent people happens all the time all over the country. Time for some tough love.

  • Felon in possession (gun), drugs (likely under influence – makes him drive better), no license (no respect for laws and courts), not a lick of insurance of course (hope they had uninsured motorists coverage). only two killed this time, not as bad a parade massacre (truck did it, fleeing white police with knife, etc). Send in social workers. Was he getting the felony check gainesville city commission voted for? Why do criminals flock to Gainesville and Alachua county?

  • If this was an FCAT or Essay Contest JENNIFER CABRERA you would have gonna a 1 or been disqualified! You mentioned nothing about the victims but their age! WHO ARE THEY, where were they headed, what were their goals in life or memories shared by family, what school did the child attend bring a little light to the tragic event! All I see if an article of “Black man with extended arrest history, taken down”. Like you used maaayyyybbeee 2 paragraphs to actually talk about the ACTUAL topic of the article and the rest seem to be a panicked run on sentence about the unnecessary history of the guilty party past! Learn to stay on topic and give us actually, USEFUL, information! All anyone learned about the accident was he was going 100mph, the victims were ejected from the car, anddddddd it was Thanksgiving! What caused the accident? Which direction were they headed? Was anyone else involved or hurt? Were the victims wearing seat belts? I hope they put you on creating crossword until you understand the important or Valuable information

    • Some things are better off unsaid for the family that is dealing with their loss. This was information that shows people get a smack on the hand and really need a good ole fashioned belt on the hind end! He took two lives and could have been more!!! He should never get out to kill again!!!!

    • She did state valuable information: location, time, incident and fatalities. Maybe at the time of the article names were not released. It sounds like you are looking for their obituaries. Why so angry? This is an unfortunate accident to have happened around the holidays. Prayers to the victims and their families.

    • Just look at a different article there’s plenty on the family. The piece of shit deserves to be publicly humiliated for his disrespectful past. Any color of persons who kill two innocent people because of their shitty driving and decisions deserves every ounce of karma coming their way. Hopefully the justice system actually does it’s job and puts this piece of shit behind bars.

  • If you can’t be right, you drag society down, you harm and abuse, you have no purpose, then with purpose or wrecklessly, kill a child and adult, No Mercy. You forfeited the right to freedom. Anyone with his lead up wrap sheet, should be locked up before killing as a last straw. If you disagree, your the problem.

  • Judges that keep giving serial criminals probation are simply another example of comfortable bureaucrats.

  • To unapologetic! There are some things better off unsaid for the family’s sake. None of your business! It was a factual news read that shines light on people getting away with too much! He still caused two deaths and it could have been more! He needs to be put away and never get out to kill again!!!!!

  • Obviously the one thing that can be concluded from the story is the wrong people died in the accident.

    Sometimes the truth hurts…deal with it.

  • The 13 year old and her great grandmother are very dear friends of mine and were on their way to the family Thanksgiving dinner in Gainesville. This individual should not have been behind a wheel if his license was suspended. He never should have been in Alachua County. Call it what you want. He is responsible for murder! My best friend has lost her beautiful mother and great niece, instead of celebrating Thanksgiving they ended up grieving. Instead of shopping on Friday they began planning two funeral services. Instead of spending time together as a family during the Holidays there will be 2 empty seats that will forever be empty. I pray that this young man finds forgiveness and peace that is only available through Jesus Christ. I know that my friend and her family will be able to forgive but unfortunately will never be able to forget. Every Thanksgiving day there will be 2 empty chairs at the table as a reminder of this day in 2021!

  • Not only are judges and lawyers, prosecutors our enemies, but the public skools that raise these monsters for them to feed off of, for decades more. When will voters wake up?

  • I was driving in the opposite direction to visit family on Thanksgiving and saw this happen or rather the tail end of it. I saw a dust cloud and the SUV rolling over. It turns out my dash camera captured it so I cut the video and put it up on Youtube for police (I reported it to the FHP already) and the public.

    It is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofMZPpxF4Xg

    I’m sad to hear that a 13 year old and 83 old lost their lives. From looking at the footage though I am shocked that anyone survived it. It looks like the SUV rolled over well over a dozen times. Please be careful on the roads and report anyone driving recklessly. You just might save a life!

    • Whew I done had my driver license for years I am scared to drive out of town 😥🥺🙏

    • My wife just shared this information with me. I am devastated by this. Justice is indeed blind.

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