NASSAU COUNTY, Fla. – Charges have been reduced for a Yulee woman who was accused of DUI manslaughter after a passenger in a car she was driving fell out of the back seat, hit her head and died on a Nassauville street in November.
Hailey Hutto, a 25-year-old mother, died Nov. 9 after she fell out of a car driven by Ashley Collum. Now there is a memorial with flowers, cards, a cross and an angel at the site of the incident.
Collum, 23, was initially charged with DUI manslaughter, but those felony charges were dropped Dec. 10 and a misdemeanor DUI charge was filed instead.
Hutto’s family is seeking justice. The family hasn’t heard much from investigators with the Nassau County Sheriff’s Office because the investigation is still ongoing.
The State Attorney’s Office told News4Jax the charge was reduced in part because witness accounts pointed to Hutto jumping out of the car.
While there is evidence that Collum was driving the car and was impaired, “there is no evidence the defendant either caused or contributed to the victim’s death,” according to the State Attorney.
Loved ones told News4Jax they have a lot of unanswered questions.
“I will dig and I will not stop until I have justice for my daughter and my grandchild,” said Hutto’s mother,
The 25-year-old’s mother, Misty Hutto told News4Jax her granddaughter deserves to one day know what happened to her mother.
According to a Nassau County Sheriff’s Office arrest report, Collum was driving two passengers as they left a party on Duck Lake Drive around 9:30 p.m. when Hutto, who was riding in the back seat, got angry and tried to get out of the car. Witnesses told investigators they saw the back door open and close several times while the vehicle was stopped at a stop sign.
As Collum turned onto Merlin Drive, the rear door opened and Hutto fell out while the car was moving, witnesses said. Collum then took off before returning 15 minutes later, according to witnesses.
Collum later gave two breath samples to the Sheriff’s Office which came back as .136 and .146, nearly twice the legal blood alcohol content limit, according to an arrest report. Collum also told a Nassau deputy she’d smoked marijuana earlier in the night. She admitted to deputies she should not have been driving.
“We are absolutely disgusted that these girls are walking around living lives while my daughter is not here. You can’t drive a car and not be responsible for the people who are in your car,” said Misty Hutto.
Hutto asks for any additional witnesses to come forward with information that can help in her daughter’s case.
Collum was arraigned on the misdemeanor DUI charge Monday and her next court date is Jan. 22.