Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando man gets three years in prison after friend died in car-racing crash

BROOKSVILLE — One day last year, two buddies raced their nearly identical Honda Civics down a rural, two-lane road east of Brooksville.

Driving north in the southbound lane, Paul Thomas Snyder pulled ahead in his white Civic as an oncoming car appeared over a hill. Snyder darted back into the northbound lane, clipping the front of the black car driven by his longtime friend, Jonathan Parker.

On Tuesday, a Hernando County circuit judge sentenced Snyder to three years in prison for what happened next.

Both cars spun out of control. Parker's car hit a tree on the side of the road. Snyder sped away, authorities say.

Parker, 18, died at the scene.

"I'm sorry to everybody," Snyder, now 21, said during the hearing. "His family. My family. I wish it didn't have to go down like this."

As part of a plea agreement, Snyder pleaded no contest to vehicular homicide, racing on the highway, and driving with a suspended or revoked license and without valid registration. The sentence, which includes a decade of probation, is significantly less than the minimum set forth by law — 113 months, or nearly 10 years. Prosecutors and Parker's family agreed to the deal based on the "unique facts and circumstances of the case," Assistant State Attorney Bill Catto told Circuit Judge Anthony Tatti.

Tatti made sure Snyder understood he will spend at least a decade in prison if he gets in trouble again.

"I hope you carry that with you every day you're on probation," Tatti said.

Among the conditions of the deal, Snyder must give six presentations each year to high schools or youth groups about the dangers of racing. His license will be suspended for five years, and he must pay $6,140 in restitution to Tina Bernecker, Parker's mother.

Snyder does not have a lengthy criminal record. He was arrested in Brooksville in 2008 and charged with battery on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest. He pleaded guilty, and adjudication was withheld, records show.

Parker, who went by Jon or his last name, lived on Kibler Lane, less than a mile west of the crash site. Snyder lived even closer, on WPA Road.

Snyder and Parker had attended Brooksville's Parrott Middle School together, then both wound up at what was then called the STAR Center, the district's alternative school for students with behavior issues. Friends and a former teacher told the Tampa Bay Times last year that Parker was taking adult education courses and had plans to join the Navy.

Before the sentencing, Snyder's tearful mother crossed the aisle of the gallery, embraced Bernecker and apologized to her. Then Snyder, who was out on bail, did the same.

Bernecker did not speak during the hearing and declined to comment afterward, though she nodded when a Times reporter asked if she thought Snyder was remorseful.

Holly Parker, Jon's sister, said her family is still grieving and wishes Snyder's family well. But the emotional reaction of Snyder's family and friends to the sight of a bailiff cuffing him didn't sit well, Parker said.

"They're acting like they're losing a son," she said. "Jail has visiting hours."

Reach Tony Marrero at tmarrero@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1431. Follow @tmarrerotimes on Twitter.

Hernando man gets three years in prison after friend died in car-racing crash 05/28/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 28, 2013 11:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Officially official: Malik Zaire, Jake Fruhmorgen join Florida Gators

    Blogs

    It's finally, officially official: Malik Zaire has joined the Florida Gators.

  2. Support for gay marriage surges, even among groups once wary

    Nation

    NEW YORK — In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey.

    People gather in Washington's Lafayette Park to see the White House lit up in rainbow colors on June 26, 2015, the day the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage legal. In the two years since same-sex marriage was legalized nationwide, support for it has surged even among groups that recently were broadly opposed, according to a new national survey released on Monday, June 26, 2017. [Associated Press]
  3. June 26 marks the 20th anniversary of the Harry Potter series.
  4. Air bag recalls, lawsuits lead Takata to file for bankruptcy

    Autos

    Shattered by recall costs and lawsuits, Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. filed Monday for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., saying it was the only way it could keep on supplying replacements for faulty air bag inflators linked to the deaths of at least 16 people.

    Japanese air bag maker Takata Corp. CEO Shigehisa Takada bows during a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. Takata has filed for bankruptcy protection in Tokyo and the U.S., overwhelmed by lawsuits and recall costs related to its production of defective air bag inflators.
[(AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi]
  5. Philando Castile family reaches $3 million settlement in death

    Crime

    MINNEAPOLIS — The mother of Philando Castile, a black motorist killed by a Minnesota police officer last year, has reached a nearly $3 million settlement in his death, according to an announcement Monday by her attorneys and the Minneapolis suburb that employed the officer.

    A handout dashboard camera image of Officer Jeronimo Yanez firing at Philando Castile during a traffic stop in Falcon Heights, Minn., July 6, 2016. [Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension via The New York Times]