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JSO names driver who killed 17-year-old

6:10 PM, Aug 29, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Jacksonville Sheriff's Office traffic crash report has identified Ismet SiJamhodzic as the driver behind the van that plowed into Gerald Jackson's home.

It crushed 17-year-old JaNay Jackson who was sleeping in her bedroom; the Wolfson high honor student was pronounced dead at the hospital.

"I did break down. It was very hard to think about all of this potential this young lady had," said Sheri Porubski.

Porubski was her first period teacher. She said Jackson was exceptional.

"Such a horrific and unexpected way to lose a child," she said.

JaNay's father, Gerald Jackson, in his grief asked, "has the driver been arrested?"

Jackson said he is puzzled as to why it would take so long to charge the person who took his daughter's life.

Criminal defense attorney Janet Johnson empathized with the family as she explained the process. 

"It is normal (to be arrested immediately) if there wasn't another crime," said Johnson. "They have to wait for the proof that there was DUI because the blood could come back and it could be fine."

The just-released JSO crash report identified the owner of the vehicle as Sijamhodzic. Court records show he is an habitual traffic offender. Between 1996 and 2007, he received nine tickets for moving violations.

-Six for speeding

-One for careless driving

-Two for running stop signs.

According to the crash report, SiJamodzic was operating the minivan "in a careless or negligent manner."

JSO spokesperson Shannon Hartley said because there's an active ongoing investigation, they are not ready to say if the driver will be charged.

Attorney Johnson said she understands due process, but finds this to be unusual.

"What they have done in a lot of cases I've seen is they arrest the person for vehicular manslaughter and then wait to find out if it was DUI manslaughter," said Johnson.

Johnson said an arrest could give the family some consolation, even thought it won't give them back their beloved daughter.

"I think there's no doubt that this man killed their daughter," said Johnson. "The question is whether he was impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time or whether he was recklessly driving." 

Calls to SiJamhodzic for comment were rejected; the person hung up the phone.  

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