DUI manslaughter arrest made in deadly Clay County crash that killed father, son

Surveillance video showed Hernandez drinking at restaurant before crash

Surveillance video showed Hernandez drinking at restaurant before crash

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – An arrest was made on Thursday nearly a year after a deadly crash in Clay County that killed a local father and son.

Danielle Hernandez, 43, was arrested on DUI manslaughter charges on Thursday, records show.

The single-car crash that killed David Hardie Senior, 45, and his son David Hardie Junior, 19, happened near County Road 209 and Bayard Road on March 1, 2021.

The family told News4JAX they were relieved and have a sense of peace now that Hernandez is behind bars.

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“It’s bittersweet,” Julie Panarotti, a family member, said. “It brings back the memories of what happened. On the other hand, it’s a good thing because it’s bringing a little bit of closure.”

Hardie said the father and son were coming home from Corky Bells in Palatka where they had just eaten dinner.

According to an arrest warrant, security video and receipts showed Hernandez and David Hardie drank two shots of whiskey and a white claw before eating. Hernandez then drove with her teenage daughter and the father and son in her pick-up truck. Troopers said Hernandez was speeding, lost control, and ran a stop sign before hitting a tree and utility pole. Hardie and Hardie Junior were ejected and died. Hernandez’s daughter was seriously injured but survived. Hernadez was cited for running a stop sign and not wearing a seatbelt.

According to the warrant, there had been minimal or no braking leading up to the crash.

Records revealed Hernandez had a blood-alcohol level of .177.

“It felt like there was more to it and it felt like it needed to be investigated further,” Panarotti said.

While the family waited for an arrest -- records showed Hernandez was arrested in December on a different DUI charge in Duval County.

“That was a little concerning that it had only been nine months and she was being arrested for the same thing again,” Michelle Hardie said.

The family said their goal now is to live their lives -- for Hardie and his son.

Hernandez is charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter and one count of DUI causing serious injury. She is being held in the Clay County Jail on a roughly $250,000 bond.