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Newberry man charged with DUI manslaughter in pedestrian death on Millhopper Road

Booking photo from June 10, 2021

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Robert Neal Duncan, Jr., 44, was arrested early this morning following the death of a pedestrian yesterday evening on Millhopper Road.

According to the arrest report from the Florida Highway Patrol, their investigation indicated that Duncan was driving a maroon 2014 Chevrolet Silverado westbound on County Road 232 (Millhopper Road), just east of I-75, and struck a pedestrian, a 27-year-old Palatka man, who was in the westbound bicycle lane. The pedestrian was thrown into the ditch on the westbound shoulder; the truck also came to rest in the ditch on the westbound shoulder.

A witness at the scene said he was driving westbound on Millhopper Road when he saw the truck stuck in the ditch and observed that the side curtain airbags were deployed. He stopped to help and called 911 to report the incident. Seeing tire marks in the shoulder, the witness walked along the shoulder, found the man who had been hit, and called 911 again.

A second witness said he was driving eastbound and, unaware that the truck was involved in a crash, pulled the truck out of the ditch with a strap.

Post Miranda, Duncan reportedly said he had seen something “furry” in the road and had swerved to the left to avoid it but couldn’t say for sure whether he had remained within the travel lane. He said he then became stuck in the ditch and was pulled out by a passing motorist. Duncan reportedly slurred his words and was lethargic during the interview.

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Duncan and several FHP Troopers relocated to the Chevron at Hunters Crossing for field sobriety exercises on a flat, even surface with lights. Duncan reportedly had trouble following instructions and had poor balance during the exercises.

An FHP Trooper took Duncan to the North Florida Regional Medical Center Emergency Room near the Chevron and placed him under arrest. After he was discharged, he was booked into the jail at 3:00 a.m.

Duncan, a Newberry resident, has been charged with DUI manslaughter and a third DUI conviction within 10 years. He is currently on probation for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription and is being held on $1,100,000 bond, with a requirement for a Transdermal Alcohol Detector monitor upon release.

Duncan has claimed an exemption that prohibits the jail from providing his booking photo as a public record; the exemption applies to past and present law enforcement officers and their families.

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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