The Office of State Attorney Glenn Hess announces that on August 1, 2018, a six-member Bay County jury found Christopher Steven Chambers guilty as charged of Vehicular Homicide.
Evidence presented at trial demonstrated that on April 8, 2016, the Defendant was in a hurry to get to a house on Sherman Avenue to retrieve belongings that his passenger, Barbie Wright, had given away earlier while he was incarcerated in jail. The Defendant was driving 79 miles per hour in a 35 mile per hour residential area on a Friday afternoon. He passed cars that were stopped for a school bus and then ran off the road onto the shoulder, striking a utility pole with the passenger side of his Nissan Versa before coming to a stop on the roof of the car.
A resident from the neighborhood was the first scene. She testified that she saw the Defendant’s car pass her house going between 60-70 miles per hour before she heard the crash and ran outside to assist. Firefighters and Paramedics used the jaws of life to get the Defendant out of the vehicle. When they were finally able to access the passenger, she was deceased.
The Florida Highway Patrol responded to the scene and worked the crash and death investigation. As the investigation unfolded, the Florida Highway Patrol learned from the Defendant that he was driving the car that day, that his brakes were working, and that he was in a hurry to get to a residence on Sherman Avenue before the occupant left the area. The investigation revealed that, based on the crush damage to the car and the indication of braking on the shoulder of the road, the Defendant was traveling at 79 miles per hour when he ran off the road and crashed his car into a utility pole, killing his passenger, Barbie Wright.
The jury deliberated for a little over an hour before returning a verdict of guilty as charged. Circuit Judge Brantley Clark, Jr., will sentence the Defendant on August 21, 2018. The Defendant is facing up to 30 years in prison if Judge Clark determines he should be sentenced as a Habitual Felony Offender because of his prior felony convictions. Assistant State Attorneys Alyssa Yarbrough and Jennifer Hawkins prosecuted the case with the help of the Florida Highway Patrol.
For additional information, contact Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford.