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Man Steals Truck to Avoid Zombie Pursuit

Tennessee man Jerimiah Clyde Hartline, 19, was arrested on suspicion of grand theft, driving without a license and hit and run for stealing an 18 wheeler, crashing it, and causing a giant traffic jam in Temecula, California earlier this month. First off, sweet name. Only a guy with a name like this from the hills of the dirty south would have the presence of mind to commandeer a big rig to prevent a zombie attack. Excellent thinking Clyde. No, not really as this has Florida written all over it. Meanwhile, back at the ranch… According to the California Highway Patrol, Hartline informed authorities that he stole the truck from a weigh station in Rainbow, California because he was sure zombies were hot on his trail. Further, despite his high speed driving and swerving all over the road, the zombies wouldn’t shake loose eventually causing Mr. Hartline to crash the truck and injuring many. As a result of the zombie attack and subsequent crash, all four lanes of the interstate were closed for several hours while cleanup crews cleared the truck from the road and corralled the two loads of strawberries on board. According to the news report it is “unknown whether Hartline was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

Yes, it would be a mystery as to whether Mr. Hartline was sober or slightly influenced by an “extracurricular” substance… Man, I wonder if he was? Time will tell with a potential DUI. As for now, we know he’s getting charged with grand theft. If I were a betting man I’d estimate he will be charged with DUI with serious bodily injury as well.

As for a grand theft charge, were this charged in Florida he’d be alleged to have knowingly obtained or used the property of another with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the other person of such property. Because Jerimiah very likely damaged the property of others that he hit and due to the damage of the truck no doubt being over $1,000 he would be charged with a first degree felony punishable by up to 30 years in prison. His suspended license charge is as simple as him driving the truck while his license is suspended. In Florida, if someone knows their license is suspended their offense is criminal in nature per 322.34(2). If they don’t know, and a Cop believes them, they’ll get a simple infraction. Regardless, if a defendant gets a criminal infraction for driving while license suspended, their Tampa criminal lawyer could potentially mount a lack of knowledge defense on their behalf in an effort to earn a charge reduction. As for the hit and run, in Florida one must give their name, address, registration, and must show their driver’s license if requested by the other driver prior to leaving the scene of the accident per statute 316.062. It doesn’t look like Mr. Hartline had that option here considering he had zombies heading his way looking for a snack. Because there were injuries related to some of these crashes, Mr. Hartline would be looking at a third degree felony count for those in particular. Lastly, were Jeremiah in Florida when this occurred, he could be looking at a DUI with serious bodily injury depending on the injuries to the other drivers, per Florida Statute 316.193. It looks like Jerimiah was in fact driving this truck unless a zombie had taken the wheel. If the State could show that Jerimiah was intoxicated to the extent his normal faculties were impaired or that his breath/blood alcohol level was .08 or above, he could potentially get convicted of a DUI. Alternatively, if the State could show that Mr. Hartline was under the influence of a controlled substance to the extent his normal faculties were impaired he could be charged with a DUI. If the State can further show that as a result of his driving under the influence he caused serious bodily injury to another, he could be charged with a third degree felony count of DUI with serious bodily injury per Florida Statute 316.193(3)(c)2.

In all seriousness, these allegations are pretty shocking. Mr. Hartline is no doubt looking at a multitude of very serious offenses. Tampa criminal attorney Jason Mayberry has handled criminal allegations involving many of the crimes alleged against Jerimiah Hartline with much success. If you’ve been charged with a crime in central Florida, please contact The Mayberry Law Firm at 813-444-7435.