Four years ago, 15-year-old Haley Smith was killed by a hit-and-run driver while walking on the side of Kenton Morrison Road in St. Augustine.

The hit-and-run driver, Tiffany Higginbotham, is now serving 17 years in prison after being sentenced in September. She wasn’t arrested until almost three years after this tragedy because she fled the scene, never turned herself in and, we believe, took steps to actively hide the fact she was responsible.

Holding Others Accountable

Last week, I filed a lawsuit with co-counsel, David Setzler, against Higginbotham and her boyfriend, the owner of the truck that hit and killed Haley, as well as his construction company to which the truck is titled.

Lawsuit filed in 2013 hit-and-run death of teenage girl

We want people to know that if they help hide hit-and-run drivers, they will be held fully accountable. We’re investigating whether Higginbotham’s boyfriend knew about the incident and protected her by not reporting it to police. If that turns out to be the case,  he should be held accountable for his part in this tragedy too. Our client, Jo-Lee Manning, Haley’s mother, suffered almost four years of additional anguish not knowing who killed her daughter. However, because Jo-Lee is tenacious and kept Haley’s unsolved death in the news, a break in the case finally came that led to Higginbotham’s arrest.

Jo-Lee is turning heartbreak into action. She’s created a non-profit to honor Haley’s memory to help prevent and educate others about hit-and-runs and the impact they have on victims’ families. “If I can prevent one hit-and-run, or encourage one person to do the right thing and not leave the scene, I will consider that a success,” Manning said.