TAMPA — Jordan Valdez, the teen suspected of fleeing a fatal crash scene in Hyde Park this year, has been offered a plea deal, according to an internal Tampa police document.
"Ms. Valdez responded to the State Attorney's Office and gave a statement," states the June 15 document, which does not include details of the proposed agreement. "The State Attorney's Office has made an offer to Ms. Valdez and they are awaiting a response."
A Nissan Murano usually driven by Valdez, 17, was linked to a Feb. 8 crash that killed a homeless woman as she crossed Hyde Park Avenue near the Davis Islands Bridge. Melissa Sjostrom, 33, died in the accident.
Valdez's father initially contacted the case detective, but his lawyer advised the family not to say anything.
The only firm evidence detectives had that put the teen behind the SUV's wheel was a statement that couldn't be used against her. She was cited only for careless driving, but a judge dismissed it.
Police then closed the case administratively. A police spokeswoman later said that was a mistake. Police reactivated the investigation of the crash last month, after the St. Petersburg Times raised questions about the case.
Janet Zink can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 226-3401.