TAMPA — Hillsborough prosecutors have dropped a racing charge against the last of three young men accused of taking part in the 2018 traffic crash that killed a mother and daughter on Bayshore Boulevard.
Tristan Herrin was a passenger in the Ford Mustang that his younger brother, Cameron Herrin, was driving on May 23, 2018, when police say the car struck Jessica Reisinger-Raubenolt and her 21-month-old daughter, Lillia.
Prosecutors had said the Mustang was racing a Nissan Altima, driven by John Barrineau, moments before the collision.
Although Barrineau and Cameron Herrin both pleaded guilty to their respective roles in causing the crash, prosecutors said evidence showed Tristan Herrin, now 23, did not contribute to a race. In a written notice filed Friday in Hillsborough Circuit court, the state said it will no longer pursue a single misdemeanor charge of unlawful racing on a highway.
“Based on evidence available at the crash scene, we charged Tristan Herrin for knowingly participating in racing,” said a statement from Grayson Kamm, a spokesman for the office of Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren. “As we built airtight cases against the two drivers directly responsible for the deaths of Jessica and Lillia, however, the evidence showed that Tristan was merely a passenger on that tragic day and therefore had not committed any crime.”
Tristan Herrin’s attorney, Brian Gonzalez, said that while his client is relieved, he continues to think of the family of the mother and daughter. He was 20 when they died.
“Obviously, this is a horrible, horrible tragedy for all involved,” Gonzalez said. “He’s very happy that he can put this behind him once and for all and he continues to think daily about the Raubenolt family and he just wants to turn the page to a new chapter in his life.”
The state’s decision concludes an emotionally charged case that captivated the South Tampa community and generated widespread public interest.
While prosecutors had accused all three young men of racing, defense attorneys disputed that there was a race. Nevertheless, the two drivers admitted their roles in causing the crash.
Barrineau, who was 17 when it happened, pleaded guilty late last year to a vehicular homicide charge. In a deal with prosecutors, he accepted a six-year prison sentence.
Cameron Herrin, who was 18 and received the Mustang as a high school graduation gift, also pleaded guilty, but left it up a judge to decide his penalty. After an emotional, daylong sentencing hearing last month, he was sentenced to 24 years in prison.