April 26, 2014

Arlington man gets probation in I-30 hit-and-run death

A 28-year-old woman was knocked into a guard rail as she walked along the shoulder one early October morning in 2012.

A former Tarrant County jailer who fatally struck a woman on Interstate 30 as he drove from a bar to a strip club was sentenced Friday to 10 years’ probation and ordered to place a memorial at the site of the hit-and-run accident.

A jury deliberated a little more than an hour Friday before finding Jeffrey J. Holland of Arlington guilty of causing an accident involving injury or death, which is a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Jurors then sentenced him to probation and a $10,000 fine.

As a condition of the probation, State District Judge Ruben Gonzalez ordered that Holland serve 120 days in a lockdown facility and place the memorial.

Ladrieka Waggoner, 28, was hit early on Oct. 14, 2012, as she walked along I-30 near Beach Street in east Fort Worth. The impact knocked her into a guard rail. When the sun rose, a passer-by found Waggoner’s body, personal items and the T-top to a Jeep.

A patrol officer recalled that he has seen a T-top blow off a Jeep and recorded the license plate. When officers went to Holland’s home, he smelled of alcohol and acknowledged hitting something with his Jeep Wrangler. The Jeep had visible damage and bodily fluids on the hood, grill and passenger-side door.

“This jury’s verdict and sentence reinforces the notion that we owe each other a level of human decency,” prosecutor Lloyd Whelchel said in a statement. “When you are involved in accident where someone dies, you do the right thing — you do not leave the scene. This defendant will have the next 10 years to reflect on the decision that he made that morning, and the victim’s family can have some measure of peace now.”

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