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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Widow Blames Hertz for Husband’s Death

(CN) - A Florida man never would have died had Hertz not rented a car to an individual who was previously arrested on three other occasions while driving rental vehicles.

In a lawsuit filed in Pinellas County, Fla. Circuit Court, Anastasia Davis says her husband Aaron was walking home in the early morning hours of April 11, 2015, when he was struck and killed by a Dodge Charger rented by Hertz and being driven by Jason Lenard Mitchell.

According to Davis, Mitchell was drunk at the time and had run two red lights while fleeing police officers who had pulled him over for a traffic infraction.

Davis says Mitchell was driving at nearly 90 miles per hours through downtown St. Petersburg, Fla. streets until he struck her husband.

In her Dec. 22 complaint, Davis details Mitchell's arrests while driving rental cars. In the prior cases, Mitchell was charged with possession of marijuana and crack cocaine, and at least once with trying to sell crack cocaine to an undercover police officer.

On two of these occasions, the complaint says, Mitchell attempted to flee from the police.

"Jason Lenard Mitchell exhibited a pattern of behavior that demonstrated his intent to use the third Dodge Charger for a criminal purpose," the complaint says.

As a result, Anastasia Davis says, Hertz never should have rented him the vehicle that killed her husband.

Aaron Davis was a popular chef in downtown St. Petersburg and father to a young daughter. A day before his funeral, Anastasia Davis gave birth to a son.

Mitchell remains in jail on charges of vehicular homicide, DUI manslaughter, leaving the scene of a crash involving death, and aggravated fleeing and eluding.

Davis is represented by Dane Heptner of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes PA in Clearwater, Fla.

Representatives of Hertz did not immediately respond to phone calls and emails requesting comment.

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