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Suspect arrested in December hit-and-run death of UF student

Joshua Figueroa

BY JENNIFER CABRERA

Joshua A. Figueroa has been arrested and charged with the hit-and-run death of Margaret Paxton, an 18-year-old UF student, on December 9, 2020.

Paxton was killed around 10:48 p.m. while crossing University Avenue southbound at Gale Lemerand Drive, and the driver of the car that hit her failed to stop or render aid. Automated license plate readers and parts of the car left at the scene were used to identify the car as a 2003 BMW, blue in color, with a tag registered to Miguel Angel Figueroa, who has a history of employment at Best Motor Works and Sports in the Depot Park area. According to the arrest report, investigators went to the business on December 15, 2020, and saw a blue BMW in the lot that was “wedged in tightly,” surrounded by other vehicles “in what appears to be an attempt to conceal the vehicle.” The car had damage to the right front quarter panel and visible hood crumpling on the right side. Detectives were denied permission to enter the lot by M. Figueroa, but they obtained a warrant and returned to seize the vehicle.

The search warrant also allowed detectives to search the interior of the car, where they found paperwork belonging to Joshua Figueroa, the son of the registered owner of the car. Analysis of blood spatter found on the exterior of the car matched the victim. Cell phone records showed that Joshua Figueroa was in the area of the crash at the time of the hit-and-run, and records also showed that the suspect called two people about 15 minutes after the crash.

On June 29, 2021, investigators interviewed the second person called by the suspect, who said he was contacted by the suspect that night and that J. Figueroa had stated that he had hit “someone or something” with his car. They met at Lillian’s Music Store, where the suspect “started consuming alcoholic beverages and was visibly upset.” J. Figueroa showed the witness the car, and the witness said he told Figueroa that he didn’t want to know anything else about the crash.

Joshua Figueroa was arrested this afternoon and refused to answer any questions.

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  • So glad that this person is off the streets… Cannot even imagine leaving someone for dead after hitting them with my vehicle. Disgusting disregard for the life of another human being was shown by this perp for 6 months. Society needs to be protected from him. His “friend” is little better. He should have tried to convince the suspect to turn himself in, or turned him in. The relative, Miguel, at Best Motor Works, (really, The WORST Motor Works,) is as despicable as his relative, the driver, who is almost certainly guilty of vehicular homicide at the very least. I’m so glad there will be some semblance of justice for this young UF student who died too young because of this creep’s callous negligence.

  • there is a sale at Victoria’s Secret. Buy some things for your long prison stay! Girlfriend!

  • Hopefully law enforcement will check his cellphone history and see if that was the greatest contributor to the loss of this young life. GPD and ACSO need to stop turning their heads to distracted drivers and start enforcing the laws already on the books. Stop blaming a 30 mph on a major thoroughfare for pedestrian deaths instead of what could really be the cause.

    I almost forgot, we do live in a city ruled by liberal leadership, might as well transfer the cause to something else.

    • Not sure what politics have to do with this woman’s death. Why are you grasping for draws to complain about liberals when literally the only person responsible is the one who hit her?

      Also, the police aren’t turning a blind eye to the people who do these crimes, on account that they literally arrest them all the time, as evidenced here.

      Grow up.

      • Dear Bob ..in denial again? Politics didn’t have anything to do with the crime. The reaction by leadership was political whether you want to admit it or not, there are distracted drivers all around Gainesville and other communities. Instead of putting in speed tables address the issue. Many tend to be on the younger adult side. You would probably notice that unless you happen to be one of those… distracted, not younger. By the way, contrary to your version of reality, people who are texting and driving aren’t being arrested. Time for you to wake up.

          • But I can spell. It’s always the people who live in denial that always want to transfer responsibility to someone else for their own incompetence or inadequacy.

            Struck a nerve did I? One day, when you’re all growed up and able to have a logical conversation without your political prejudice, feel free to chime in again.

    • he was probably drunk when he hit her. he was a druggie and drunk, as made obvious by all her public facebook and instagram posts about recreation drug use… i cannot believe that you are somehow trying to blame liberals for this girl’s death.

      • Here’s to “so dumb I hate to make a statement”…

        Let’s give you, and the other liberal readers, a little better understanding of my statement. I said liberals like to transfer the blame to something or someone else. City leadership chose to blame the speed limit for the recent rash of pedestrian deaths on University Ave. hence the petition to the state to take over control of the roadway and the installation of speed tables. Examine the numerous stops that were recorded last year for “other reasons.” From my own observations, 40 – 60% of drivers are distracted by electronic devices. Law enforcement should issue citations to those individuals and stop ignoring the problem that arguably has a greater cause of accidents than speeding.

        Distracted drivers cause…city leaders transfer the cause to the 35 mph limit. Clear enough?

  • This kid tried to commit suicide back in February. Should have off’ed himself then. One of the many piles of insufferable human garbage in this town and as big of a hypocrite as they come. Check out his Instagram @yungbirdgod and how he has been sulking for attention and sympathy all this time after he left that girl to die…and his father for helping cover it up and hide the evidence. Both should be in jail.

  • Josh Figueroa does deserve to be tried in the court of public opinion. Nobody knows why a young lady was in the street.
    His personal bouts witn suicide and this tragic accident are unrelated. Give him a break, not to diminish the lost of this young lady but have some compassion in this situation.
    He is innocent until proven guilty.

    • The issue of vehicular homicide/murder is definitely something where her presence in the street will be examined. However, it is clear that he is guilty of hit and run in a fatal crash as they’ve proven that he was there via cell phone GPS and the car and the evidence. His father, at the very least, should be charged with obstruction of justice for attempting to conceal the evidence, as well as possibly trying to get the car fixed where he work (if that was his plan and they can prove it).

  • Waste of life lock him up for life never to be on the street again. That beautiful daughter, sister & friend that passed will always be remembered in our heartsđź’”

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