Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Driver sentenced to life for wrong-way crash that killed St. Petersburg College student

For swerving his car toward police officers, speeding the wrong way up Interstate 275, smashing into an oncoming car and killing a passenger, Charles Hicks was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison.

A jury took less than an hour to find Hicks guilty of second-degree murder, vehicular homicide, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, fleeing and eluding and driving with a suspended license.

"I'm glad the jury came up with the verdict they did," said Timothy Joslin, grandfather of Steven Cornell, who was killed in the September 2007 crash. But he called it "very small consolation for the loss of Steven."

"I just feel relieved," said Margaret Alexander, who is engaged to Cornell's father.

Assistant State Attorney Scott Rosenwasser said the verdict was appropriate in "one of the most egregious cases I've prosecuted, based on the callousness of his actions."

Cornell was 22, a St. Petersburg College student who had been a popular student and basketball player at Seminole High School. He was riding south on I-275 in a car driven by his sister when the crash occurred.

Witnesses testified that Hicks had driven recklessly along 18th Avenue S and 22nd Street in St. Petersburg and drove head-on toward a police officer before speeding onto I-275 and driving north in the southbound lanes. That's when he smashed into the car in which Cornell was a passenger.

Because Hicks had been released from prison less than a year before, he faced a stiffer penalty than normal. Life in prison was the only possible sentence for his murder conviction. Hicks, 34, received varying sentences for the other crimes.

Even though Hicks was sentenced to life in prison, Judge Richard Luce made a point also to suspend his driver's license for life. He did so even as he noted that Hicks had twice previously been convicted of driving with a suspended license and "it hasn't meant anything to you in the past, you still drove."

Curtis Krueger can be reached at (727) 893-8232 or ckrueger@sptimes.com.

Driver sentenced to life for wrong-way crash that killed St. Petersburg College student 04/21/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, April 21, 2009 10:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning shifts search for defense to free agency

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — As much as he tried, Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman left the weekend's draft without acquiring another top-four defenseman.

    Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman gestures as he speaks to the media about recent trades during a news conference before an NHL hockey game against the Carolina Hurricanes Wednesday, March 1, 2017, in Tampa, Fla. The Lightning, over the past few days, have traded goaltender Ben Bishop to the Los Angeles Kings, forward Brian Boyle to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and forward Valtteri Filppula to the Philadelphia Flyers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara) TPA101
  2. Half of Florida lawmakers fail or nearly fail review of support for public records

    State Roundup

    WEST PALM BEACH — Half of Florida's legislators failed or nearly failed in a review of their support for public records and meetings given by Florida newspapers and an open-government group after this year's legislative sessions.

    State Senator Bill Galvano, R- Bradenton (left) and Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran ranked on opposite sides of the spectrum in an analysis of support for open records. Galvano scored a B-minus and Corcoran scored a D-plus.
[Times file photo]
  3. Yale dean on leave over offensive Yelp reviews leaves post

    Bizarre News

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A Yale University dean who was placed on leave over offensive reviews she posted on Yelp has left her position at the Ivy League institution, school officials said Tuesday.

  4. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]