TAMPA — A judge on Monday ruled that a Tampa man is not guilty by reason of insanity in the traffic death of a popular doctor at Moffitt Cancer Center.
Defense attorneys and prosecutors both agreed that Igbinosa Oghubor was legally insane on March 28, 2018, when he was going 95 mph in a 30-mph zone and ran a red light before hitting and killing Dr. Charles Canaan Williams, 70. Hillsborough Circuit Judge Christine Marlewski, after hearing hours of testimony from psychologists Monday, made the ruling.
Oghubar, 38, who was charged with vehicular homicide, will receive a conditional release. As part of the agreement, Oghubor must always be under the care of a psychologist and receive supervision from Gracepoint, a mental wellness center. Marlewski ruled Oghubor must see a doctor at least twice a month. She also said that he will be “restricted” from driving.
“I know you have the remorse, however by allowing you to drive, I’m sure you recognize, puts the potential that you may be manic,” Marlewski said. “Even the best person cannot always control their behavior.”
Dr. Gregory Pritchard and Dr. Ohiana Torrealday, psychologists who evaluated Oghubor, diagnosed him with bi-polar disorder and said he often suffered periods of mania.
“When the incident occurred, he was in a manic state,” Pritchard said.
Pritchard believes Oghubor’s judgment was so impaired that he was not aware of what he was doing when he hit Williams’ car on Fowler Avenue. After the crash, Oghubor was found sitting on the ground and eating grass.
Oghubor, who testified during the hearing, and said he and his doctor have worked to get him into a facility the moment he starts noticing symptoms of a manic incident.
“My greatest fear is having another episode,” Oghubor said.
Between November 2017 and March 2018, Pritchard said, Oghubor was changing medicines and was not always in a stable condition. Michael Maher, a psychologist called by Oghubor’s defense team, said before the accident Oghubor was often unreliable and erratic. Since the fatal crash, he has become much more aware of his condition.
In their testimonies, Pritchard and Torrealday detailed some of Oghubor’s previous manic episodes, including once in 2006 when he was recorded driving 100 mph in a 30 mph zone. A year later, he trashed his girlfriend’s house and threw a rock through her car window. In a 2012 incident, he took his shirt off and did push ups in the middle of the road during a storm.
“If he’s manic, gets into a motor vehicle, he’s going to be erratic in his driving just like he is in every other area of his life during a manic episode,” Pritchard said.
Oghubor works in the neurology department at the University of South Florida and has a management role in the vaccine department. He said it will be difficult for him to get back and forth to work if he is unable to drive.
“Based on his past we can almost for certainty say Mr. Oghubor will experience mania again,” Pritchard said. “The trick will be to catch it early.”