Man connected with fatal 2011 crash pleads guilty - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Man involved in fatal 2011 crash pleads guilty, sentenced to 20 years

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Franklin Leonard James, 34, pled guilty to vehicular homicide and other related charges for his role in the 2011 death of a two-day old child in Savannah. Franklin Leonard James, 34, pled guilty to vehicular homicide and other related charges for his role in the 2011 death of a two-day old child in Savannah.
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Franklin Leonard James, 34, pled guilty to vehicular homicide and other related charges for his role in the 2011 death of a two-day old child in Savannah.

James was sentenced to 20 years, with 13 to serve and seven years on probation by Chatham County Superior Court Jude Michael Karpf. James co-defendant, Rashamel Marquise Lewis, 22, pled guilty in February 2013.

James pled guilty to two counts of homicide by vehicle, three counts of serious injury by vehicle, four counts of felony hit and run, two counts of hit and run, and one count each of reckless driving, violation of red light, failure to stop at a stop sign, driving without a license, improperly tinted windows, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, two counts of possession of a controlled substance and three counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

On May 7, 2011 a Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police patrol noticed a rented Toyota Camry with dark tinted windows circling the area of 37th and Jefferson Streets, an area known for high levels of drug activity. The police followed the vehicle through Liberty City to Highway 17 and Chatham Parkway, on to the Southside of Savannah near the Savannah mall.

At the intersection of Abercorn and Apache Avenue, James ran the red light and struck a 76-year-old man on his Honda Motorcycle. James continued accelerating down Apache Avenue, and at the corner of Apache  and Mohawk Street, the Camry struck a 2010 Pontiac carrying five people, including a woman who was seven months pregnant.

The impact drove the Pontiac into a utility pole, after which the car caught fire. James and Lewis fled the scene on foot but were apprehended by SCMPD officers shortly after.

Quantities of marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy were found in the Camry after the accident. The parties involved in the crash were taken to local hospitals for treatment, and an emergency c-section was performed. The baby died two days later.  

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