POLK COUNTY, FL- deputies arrested a former Mississippi law enforcement officer for multiple offenses including DUI after hitting five students as they were walking home from their bus stop in Poinciana on Thursday evening. One of those students, Jahiem Robertson died from his injuries on Friday morning. Another child, John Mena, also 13, remains in intensive care with orbital fractures. Three other children — Jonte Robinson, 15; Jasmine Robertson, 14; and Rylan Pryce, 12 — suffered minor injuries. It was unclear whether they were related.
John Camfield, 48, of Davenport was driving his 2008 Kia Rio 4-door at approximately 4:59 p.m. local time when he struck the children.
Speaking at the press conference Friday, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Camfield refused to take a breath test after his arrest and was “critiquing” the deputies who were processing his case. “He was critiquing the steps they were taking and complimenting them,” Judd told reporters on Friday. “He said, ‘You guys know what you are doing around here.’ ”
In fact, Judd added, Camfield was being somewhat lighthearted until a lieutenant advised him that two of the children he hit were in critical condition.
“He said, if that’s the case, put me under the jail,” Judd said.
At that point, he agreed to take a breath test and a blood draw.
“Seven hours after the crash, he still read a .14,” nearly twice Florida legal limit.
Judd said the bus had driven away just before the crash. He added that the students were not in the road when the car hit them.
“They weren’t misbehaving in any way. They were just being middle school children on their way home,” Judd said. “This drunk man in a car drove off the road and ran through those children, scattering them like a bowling ball through bowling pins.”
Judd said a sheriff in Mississippi who Camfield once worked for described him as “one of the very best detectives we’ve ever had, but he had a problem — alcohol, the bottle.”
Camfield made a first appearance in court Friday afternoon. He faces 11 charges, including DUI manslaughter and vehicular homicide. He was being held on $600,000 bail. A lawyer isn’t listed on jail records. Beverly Kraft, a spokeswoman for the state court system in Mississippi, said there is no record that Camfield has ever been convicted of a felony in that state.