Advertisement
  1. Archive

Teen charged in fatal crash at hospital

The 19-year-old driver who slammed into a wall outside Sun Coast Hospital in late December was charged Tuesday in the deaths of two friends killed in the wreck.

Investigators Monday received the results of toxicology tests showing Jerome T. Freeland Jr. had been under the influence of marijuana during the Dec. 28 crash.

Freeland now faces two counts of DUI manslaughter and possession of marijuana and LSD, which were found in his car, said Largo police Officer Carl Carbaugh. He was being held in Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $60,000 bail.

His father declined to comment on Tuesday.

Freeland, however, has told the St. Petersburg Times he couldn't remember the incident or some hours before and after it. He denied being impaired in two separate interviews.

When questioned by police on Tuesday, Freeland said he must have smoked marijuana but couldn't recall doing so. He had no explanation for his driving into the wall, Carbaugh said.

"It's quite possible that he doesn't have a real solid recollection because he may have suffered a concussion," the officer said.

Carbaugh said the teen never showed any remorse over the deaths of his friends.

"It was kind of odd," he said. "He had a smug little grin on his face most of the time. . . . At one point, he put his head on his hands, looking sad primarily over his own situation."

Authorities responded to the crash scene, a 2-foot-high wall at the hospital's main entrance off Indian Rocks Road, at 5:33 p.m. on Dec. 28.

Investigators said Freeland's Honda Accord had been traveling the speed limit and simply failed to turn with the road.

The back-seat passenger, Amanda L. Angell, 16, of Largo was taken to Largo Medical Center and pronounced dead on arrival.

Her boyfriend, front-seat passenger Joshua P. Naylor, 19, died five days later at St. Petersburg's Bayfront Medical Center.

Neither had been wearing a seat belt.

Freeland, meanwhile, broke three bones in his right foot and had a collapsed lung. He said he had previously made deliveries and worked the cash register at Beverage 2 Go.

In an interview the day after the wreck, Freeland said he was driving Naylor and Angell toward their homes and planned to drop them off before going to see his girlfriend. He said he asked both to wear their seat belts.

"I always ask everybody in my car to wear their seat belts," Freeland said then.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Advertisement
Advertisement