Tallahassee hit-and-run driver sent to prison for injuring Tampa teen

Devon Dwyer, 22, who pleaded no contest in Leon County, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years.
Devon Dwyer, 22, who pleaded no contest in Leon County, was sentenced to 2 1/2 years.
Published June 23, 2016

Kathy Faircloth said her family took a "step in the right direction" this week.

It happened when Devon Dwyer, 22, pleaded no contest in a Tallahassee courtroom to a charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving serious bodily injury. He was sentenced Monday to 2½ years in prison, to be followed by eight years of probation.

Authorities said Dwyer was driving a pickup truck in Tallahassee 18 months ago when he struck Kathy Faircloth's daughter, Jackie, as she was walking across a road. Dwyer drove off, leaving the teenager with a traumatic brain injury.

Jackie Faircloth was then an 18-year-old senior at Tampa's Plant High School, visiting Tallahassee to see a Florida State University football game with her brother.

The sentencing offers some closure for her mother Kathy Faircloth, but she said her family remains fixed on one goal: "focusing on (Jackie) and continuing helping her the best we can."

Kathy Faircloth said her daughter, now 19, has been undergoing rehabilitation at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta. But her daughter has been able to return to the family's South Tampa home "quite a bit," the mother said.

"She is still trying to recover from it," Kathy Faircloth said. "She can't speak. She can't walk. She can't stand by herself. She's 100 percent dependent on a caregiver … but she understands some things."

The mother said she remains "overwhelmed" by the support her family has received since her daughter was injured.

"There's still people calling, checking on her and checking on me," she said, adding that the outreach has helped the family "day to day."

During the sentencing hearing, she said, Dwyer showed no remorse.

"There wasn't a whole lot of expression," Faircloth said. "He didn't speak to us and didn't really look at us."

The mother hopes her daughter can one day "resume a little more of an independent life," but right now the family is taking it day by day.

"It's an awful thing for a parent to have to go through and life-changing forever," she said. "So we're just hoping we continue to get support and help and take it day to day."

Times senior news researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Contact Samuel Howard at (813)-226-3373 or Follow @SamuelHHoward.