ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. – Five months after a Bartram Trail High School athlete was seriously injured in a crash, and the same day he returned home from recovering in an Atlanta hospital, the driver in the crash was charged in connection with the accident.
Aubrey Thompson suffered severe head trauma after being thrown from a pickup truck in October. St. Johns County deputies determined speed was a factor.
The crash sparked an outpouring of support in the community and on social media for Thompson (pictured below), who had an emotional homecoming Friday after five months in rehab.
The Sheriff's Office now says 17-year-old Dylan Shaw is charged with reckless driving causing serious bodily injury, a felony, and participating in an unlawful race, a misdemeanor.
"This past Friday afternoon, deputies did arrest the suspect in the case from October of 2013," Sgt. Catherina Payne said. "A warrant was issued through the state attorney's office based on the probable cause."
The crash happened on Longleaf Pine Parkway near Orange Branch Trail. Deputies said Shaw lost control of the pickup, causing it to roll over twice. In his report, the responding deputy wrote that Shaw admitted to racing, saying he was going over 90 mph.
He also wrote: "Dylan was bruised, jumping around, holding his head and screaming at the top of his lungs, 'I killed my friend. Please help him.'"
Payne says it's not unusual for charges to be filed several months after a crash.
"We look at the evidence there on the scene," she said. "We also have to look at forensic evidence as law enforcement."
Thompson's father did not want to do an interview, but texted a statement saying, I was unaware that Dylan had been arrested and disappointed when I heard about it, as Aubrey and Dylan are good friends."
Some of Thompson's neighbors said speed racing is a big concern for them, especially among young people.
"All we can do is educate our teenage population to drive safely, definitely to wear seat belts," Payne said. "We see that more often than not."