Family of father, son killed in 2021 Clay County crash want woman accused of DUI behind bars while awaiting trial

GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – Loved ones of a father and son killed two years ago in a suspected DUI crash are calling for stiffer penalties for the driver as they wait for trial.

David Hardie Sr. and his son 19-year-old David Hardie Jr. died in a single-car crash in March 2021.

Police said the driver Danielle Hernandez, 44, was arrested and charged with two counts of DUI manslaughter. According to the arrest warrant, Hernandez was speeding lost control and ran a stop sign before hitting a tree and utility pole, causing the father and son to be ejected and die.

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

Family members of the victims said Hernandez was arrested for a separate DUI in Duval County months after the deadly crash. She was convicted on those charges in December 2022.

Hardie’s family can’t understand how Hernandez can still be out on bond as she awaits trial.

“My nephew was two months away from graduating high school when he died. We missed out on all of that. My brother was my only sibling, so it’s just been a really hard adjustment,” Michelle Hardie said.

Michelle said it was very upsetting to learn that Hernandez had received another DUI.

“It had only been nine months, and she was arrested for essentially the same thing,” Michelle said.

Photo of David Hardie Jr., David Hardie.

Court records show a Duval County judge ordered Hernandez to house arrest and required her to wear an alcohol monitoring device.

Hernandez is accused of three violations, two involving alcohol being detected and another regarding the device being tampered with, according to court documents.

Following the DUI conviction in Duval County, Hernandez has been convicted of the DUI in Duval County and was ordered to 90 days in that jail -- including time served.

As she awaits trial in the deadly Clay County crash, a judge granted bond, given that she follows conditions including no driving or drinking, and that she is on house arrest.

Hardie’s family thinks that isn’t enough and wants her behind bars.

The two years for our family have been terrible. They have been so hard. So heart-breaking and just to know that she’s out and she could possibly do this to someone else is scary,” Michelle said.

Hernandez is set to appear in court on Feb. 28.

David Hardie Sr. and his son 19-year-old David Hardie Jr. (Courtesy of family)

About the Author:

Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.