Former South Beach model gets no jail time in fatal car crash case

10/12/2012 12:33 PM

10/12/2012 1:38 PM

Former South Beach model Valentina Hubsch will not being going to jail for leaving the scene of the car wreck that killed a 21-year-old University of Miami student.

A judge Friday accepted a plea deal that calls for Hubsch to spend 18 months on house arrest, another 18 months of probation plus 250 hours of community service.

The deal came more than one month after the same judge — faced with angry relatives of the dead student who demanded Hubsch go to jail — rejected a plea deal that also included no jail time and one year of house arrest.

“I’m really sorry for what has happened,” Circuit Judge Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat told the mother of student Paul Jones. “I hope you understand that my job is to find an appropriate punishment. I know you’re not happy.”

Rodriguez-Chomat pointed out that Hubsch had no criminal record and voluntarily surrendered to police. For prosecutors, the case was always problematic because the evidence showed that Jones caused the crash.

On Nov. 13, 2010, Jones — who friends said had taken LSD — was running through traffic on Red Road near 45th Street.

Police received multiple 911 calls of a disoriented man “in the middle of the road trying to get people to run him over,” according to prosecutors’ memo.

Driving north, Hubsch told police she hit something, “so sudden and so frightening that I don’t know exactly what happened,” she told police later. She briefly pulled over, but stayed in her car, then continued to her home, never calling 911.

Jones died of his injuries 10 days after the crash. Hubsch, 48, later surrendered to police and was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving a death.

Paula Jones, the man’s mother, insisted her son did not use drugs. “The fact is the toxicology report came back negative. We don’t really know what was in his system,” she said Friday.

After investigating, prosecutors determined they couldn’t prove that Hubsch knew she struck a person. They reduced the charge to leaving the scene of a crash involving injuries.

“The truth is, I did nothing wrong. I made a mistake by not calling the police right away,” Hubsch told the Jones family Friday. “Please move on. Have forgiveness in your heart and heal. I have forgiven Paul. Please forgive me.”

The Jones’ family lawyer had initially wanted Hubsch to spent 364 days in jail. After negotiations, the family Friday asked instead for her to spend four weekends in jail — and admit where she had been in the hours before the crash.

The judge rejected the idea.

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