RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - A 21-year-old Florida City man charged with the deaths of five young people in a crash in Riviera Beach on April 13 th has been arrested, according to Mike Edmondson, spokesman for Palm Beach State Attorney’s Office.
Jabari S. Kemp is facing 10 counts of homicide, negligence and vehicle manslaughter, all second degree felonies.
Five of the counts are for DUI manslaughter. Authorities believe Kemp was under the influence of THC, an ingredient in marijuana, when the accident occurred.
Kemp could only be convicted of five of the counts since each carries a 15-year sentence, Edmondson said.
Authorities say Kemp was driving a 2008 Mercedes CLK 350 when he ran a red light and rammed into the Lexus driven by Jason Mahlung just off Interstate 95 near the Blue Heron Boulevard exit ramp in Riviera Beach. All five occupants of the Lexus were killed.
Killed in the crash were 14-year-old Makita Campbell, 22-year-old Orane Cummings, 17-year-old Shonteria Grimsley, 17-year-old Christina Joseph and 22-year-old Mahlung. All resided in Riviera Beach.
According to the probable cause affidavit, prior to the fatal accident, Kemp was stopped around 8 p.m. by a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s deputy for speeding near 45 th Street and I-95 in West Palm Beach. According to the report, the deputy detected a “very strong odor of marijuana” on Kemp. Because it was raining heavily at the time, the deputy patted down Kemp and placed him in the rear seat of the patrol car while he searched Kemp's vehicle. After searching the vehicle, Kemp was allowed to leave the scene, the report states.
After Kemp was allowed to leave, the deputy searched the rear of his patrol car and "found a small clear bag with a green grassy substance inside." The substance was tested on scene with an N.I.K. field test kit and tested positive for marijuana.
The report states that at the time of the crash, Kemp’s blood was tested for medical purpose at St. Mary’s Medical Center and the tests did not reveal drugs or alcohol in his system. However, the report says that St. Mary’s Medical Center does not test for the presence of marijuana in the blood.
Investigators later took the blood sample to the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office lab for analysis. The results of the analysis showed high levels of marijuana in Kemp’s blood and that there was "a likelihood that the defendant may have been impaired at the time of the crash,” according to the report.
Kemp will make his first court appearance Thursday morning.
©2007 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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