A new law that was recently enacted by the Florida Supreme Court means a Miami-Dade Police Department employee will not be charged for killing a Vietnam War veteran in May.
The 70-year-old decorated veteran, Richard James Flaherty, was struck in a fatal hit-and-run by a vehicle Leslie Socolov, a stenographer in the Metro-Dade Police Department Homicide Unit, was driving.
Police believe the accident occurred sometime before 3:30 a.m., May 9. Flaherty’s body was found in bushes by joggers, just before 7 a.m. according to WSVN.
According to a report recently released by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, Flaherty had died from the injuries he sustained after being struck by a motor vehicle. The report included that Aventura police received a call from Sgt. William Williams of the Metro-Dade Police Department Homicide Unit at about 2 p.m. that afternoon that began to explain the incident. The report said Williams “had an employee who believed she may have been involved in the crash. Leslie Socolov, a stenographer in the Homicide Unit reported to him ‘Something terrible happened.’”
In the report, Socolov’s explanation stated that, “Something hit her vehicle on the way home from work, the previous evening. Socolov further explained she observed a police presence in the area that morning, and after 'Googling' the incident, she learned a man was found deceased in the area she believed something struck her vehicle."
Because the recent Florida Supreme Court in State v. Dorsett require that driver must know a crash involving injury or death has occurred, Socolov will not be charged. The state explained their inability to charge the woman as: “In this case, while Socolov knew her vehicle had sustained damage, there is no evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she knew her vehicle struck Richard Flaherty.”
The victim’s elevated blood alcohol level, the darkness of the area at the time of the incident, and a recorded phone call Socolov made to her insurance company that night were also factored into the state’s final decision not to charge her WSVN reported.
Photo credit: WSVN