New questions surround Cape Coral hit-and-run after accused driver arrested
Many new questions surround a deadly hit-and-run case in Lee County, since the accused driver has been arrested.
Logan Hetherington, 19 was arrested for hitting and killing 8-year-old Layla Aiken then leaving the scene in March. We spoke to a family friend as well as a legal expert about Hetherington’s arrest.
Family friend Lacey Williams waited alongside Layla’s mom for weeks in frustration while everyone mourned Layla and waited for police to find and arrest the person who caused her death.
“We are so proud of Cape Coral Police Department,” Williams said. “They worked so hard to make sure that they have an ironclad case.”
Dr. David Thomas, FGCU professor of justice studies, said if the driver had just stayed at the scene, it would be a whole different case.
Thomas said all the details of accused driver Hetherington are invaluable to prosecutors.
“All those pieces of evidence are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle,” Thomas said. “And they’re all coming together.”
According to the Cape Coral police report, Hetherington is suspected of covering up evidence in the case.
“We’re very disappointed to see that he tried to cover it up to see that his family tried to cover it up,” Williams said.
Hetherington spoke to family members through text about the hit-and-run. Would those messages put them in legal trouble?
“Florida law is very clear that if you are in relative by blood that you cannot be charged as an accessory after the fact,” Thomas said.
Family would face charges if they hid or tampered with evidence, however.
Thomas said Hetherington’s girlfriend could potentially face felony charges for not coming forward with information. Hetherington sent messages to her after the crash as well.
“He is 19. We all make mistakes. I know that,” Williams said. “It could’ve been an accident, but once he knew that he hit her, we just are still wondering why he never came forward after that.”
Because Hetherington did not get drug tested immediately, Thomas said proving he was impaired is likely impossible.
Thomas also said vehicular homicide does not equate with murder legally. That’s likely why Hetherington had bond set at $133,00 and was able to get out of jail, compared to murder charges, where bond may not have been set.
“Had he stayed there and been a good Samaritan, then he would probably get jail time sure,” Thomas said. “But it’s not gonna be anything like he’s going to get for leaving the scene of this accident when homicide is involved.”
Thomas said Hetherington’s age playing a role in shortening a potential sentence will all depend on the jury’s recommendations and the judge. If Hetherington serves time, his license will likely be revoked for life.
If the case goes to trial, a jury may have to come in. And the case could be moved to another county in order to find an impartial jury, who have not yet heard the news of Layla’s untimely death.
“He took a life no matter how it happened, and he should have to be punished for that,” Williams said.
- 19-year-old arrested in hit-and-run death of 8-year-old Layla Aiken
- Driver accused in hit-and-run death of Layla Aiken posts bail