Driver charged in March 2012 hit-and-run

Police say speeding driver got out of wrecked car, left scene in another vehicle

Published On: Mar 20 2013 05:10:49 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 03 2012 10:45:00 AM EDT
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

Police have arrested a 40-year-old driver in connection with a hit-and-run crash on the Mathews Bridge last March that killed a 55-year-old man.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office now says that Robert Sparrow was driving the car seen speeding across the bridge about 1 a.m. on March 23, 2012, that rear-ended a car driven by Donald Barringer.

The speeding vehicle also struck a third car, causing all three vehicles to spin.

Police said Sparrow got out of his vehicle and into another vehicle stopped at the scene and continued across the bridge.

Barringer was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries. He died a week later.

The vehicle that caused the crash was registered to Sparrow's wife, although she tried to report it stolen several hours after the incident. Investigators say they found a small amount of blood on the airbag of that car, which was matched to Sparrow.

Sparrow was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash resulting in a crash. The report says data recovered from the wrecked car indicated it was going 82 mph seconds prior to the crash.

It's the news the Barringer's family has been waiting to hear for nearly a year. Instead of anger and bitterness, Barringer's daughter, Natasha Mumford, is focused on justice and said the arrest was far overdue.

"It was a good call, a good call to receive," said Mumford.

Mumford has waited nearly a year to hear that an arrest was made in connection to the crash that killed her 55-year-old father.

"I'm so happy that my father is going to receive justice, that my family is going to receive justice," said Mumford.

Mumford said Wednesday was a bitter sweet day for her, but one that does not include anger.

"I'm not angry, I'm not bitter," said Mumford. "I am saddened that I don't have my father and I'm saddened by the memories lost."

With the family now focused on Sparrow's upcoming court appearance, Mumford said she remains grateful for this step toward closure.

"We're going to go through this with as much dignity and character as we can," said Mumford.

Sparrow was the victim of a home invasion in 1997 and his 3-year-old son was abducted. The boy was left in a closed car and suffocated. The man convicted of abducting and killing the boy -- Jason "Psycho" Stevens -- remains on Florida's death row.

During Steven's J1 appearance in 1997, Sparrow was in court and attacked Stevens during the arraignment.

Sparrow is being held on $150,000 bond. Sparrow will appear in court at 9 am Thursday.