CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The driver involved in a crash that killed a 4-year-old boy and injured three others in Chesterfield County last year will spend the next four years in prison.
Jose Gonzalez-Florez was found guilty of driving on a suspended license, possession of a controlled substance and voluntary manslaughter on Thursday.
The crash happened on August 25, 2018. According to police, Gonzalez-Florez was driving a Dodge Ram truck when he hit a Toyota Camry from behind at the intersection of Belmont Road and Sue Jean Drive.
He then left the scene of the crash, police said.
The occupants of the Toyota Camry — a 26-year-old man, a 24-year-old woman, a 7-year-old boy and a 4-year-old boy were all injured in the crash, police said. The adults suffered serious injuries, and both children sustained life-threatening injuries. All four were taken to the hospital, where 4-year-old Elias Camacho, of Richmond, later died from his injuries. There wasn’t a dry eye in the courtroom as the Camacho family had to relive the death of their child. As the family still grieves, some told 8News that Thursday’s ruling was tough to accept.
“The judge could’ve done better,” said Elias’ uncle, Manuel Camacho. “He made a huge mistake and I hope God forgives him, it’s just a joke.”
In court, Elias’ father testified that Gonzalez-Florez looked him in the eye and sped off. His 4-year-old son, who had been secured in his car seat in the backseat, died a day after the crash.
The prosecution proved Gonzalez-Florez was driving 47 mph in a 35 mph zone and didn’t hit the brake until 1/10 of a second before impact. The crash pushed the Camacho’s vehicle 187 feet forward.
Gonzalez-Florez entered a plea deal in court on Thursday that dropped the hit-and-run charge and will send him to prison for six months for driving on a suspended license and three and half years for voluntary manslaughter.
He faced a maximum of 21 years in prison.
Family members say they are sick about what they called a light sentence. The Camacho family told 8News nothing will bring 4-year-old Elias back but justice was not served.
“He meant everything to us, he meant more than four years. You really can’t put a price on a baby’s life because that’s what he was, a baby, and that man just took him from us,” M. Camacho told 8News.
Court records show Gonzalez-Florez has had a long history of traffic violations. Gonzalez-Florez, who has been in the U.S. for 13 years since coming from Guatemala, was convicted for the sixth time on Thursday for driving on a suspended license.
Elias’ parents were too emotional to speak on camera but told 8News the boy, who almost didn’t survive after being born at just 1 pound, will always be their little fighter.