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Police Arrest Man for Jacksonville Beach Fatal Crash

5:20 AM, Apr 17, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Beach Police Department has arrested Francisco Mendez after a fatal crash involving a pedestrian early Sunday morning.

Shortly after 3 a.m. Sunday police were called to 3rd Street South and 2nd Avenue South in Jacksonville Beach after a pedestrian was struck and killed by a vehicle. The victim, 29-year-old Justin Reif, who is listed as active duty Navy, was crossing the street with a woman.

The woman told police she thought they had enough time to cross since the traffic light was red, according to a Jacksonville Beach Police Department arrest report. The woman stopped but Reif continued to cross the road. As he was crossing, he was hit and killed by the impact of the car, described as a red Honda by a witness.

The witness told police that after the Reif was hit, the driver didn't stop. But shortly after the crash the Honda returned to the intersection, the witness said. The driver then got out of the car and stood over Reif for a few seconds before driving away, according to the arrest report. The witness was able to get the license plate off the Honda.

A short time later, a Jacksonville Sheriff's Office patrol vehicle stopped the suspect on J Turner Butler Boulevard near Belfort Road. The driver of the red Honda was identified as 39-year-old Francisco Mendez of St. Augustine.

When police questioned Mendez, he had "red eyes and the odor of an intoxicating beverage coming from his breath," according to the arrest report.

After being interviewed, Mendez was taken to the Jacksonville Beach Police Department where he gave a voluntary blood sample before being taken to the Duval County Pretrial Detention Center.

 Mendez was booked on charges of DUI manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. Mendez was released from jail shortly after 5:30 Sunday afternoon after posting bond.

First Coast News

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