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Tampa police chief says Jordan Valdez, suspected of fleeing in fatal hit-and-run, talked to prosecutor

TAMPA — The Davis Islands teen suspected of fleeing a hit-and-run crash was recently interviewed by a prosecutor, Tampa police Chief Steve Hogue said today.

Hogue could not provide any details about the meeting.

"It's my understanding that she went into the State Attorney's Office," he said. "The circumstances, what was said, who she talked to, I have no idea."

Hogue said he assumed that Jordan Valdez, 17, received immunity for her statements, meaning prosecutors cannot use them to make a case against her.

She could still be charged using evidence gained independently through the ongoing investigation, however.

Attorneys for Valdez and her family would not comment today. Assistant State Attorney Pam Bondi also declined to comment, citing the pending investigation.

Police have said they are certain that an SUV owned by the Valdez family and usually driven by Jordan Valdez is the one that hit 33-year-old Melissa Sjostrom on the night of Feb. 8 as she crossed Hyde Park Avenue near the Davis Islands bridge. Sjostrom died from her injuries soon after.

A Tampa police detective initially closed the case without making an arrest, saying he didn't have enough evidence to put Valdez, then 16, behind the wheel at the time of the accident. The detective did not question Valdez.

The agency reopened the case last month after St. Petersburg Times reports about the unsolved hit-and-run.

Colleen Jenkins can be reached at cjenkins@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3337.

Tampa police chief says Jordan Valdez, suspected of fleeing in fatal hit-and-run, talked to prosecutor 06/16/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 18, 2009 5:11pm]
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