Ft. Pierce man arrested for vehicular homicide in death of teenage girl

Driver was "high on cocaine," say deputies

FT. PIERCE, Fla. - St. Lucie County deputies have arrested the man they say was filled with drugs when he hit and killed a Fort Pierce teenager.

Now, her family is speaking out about how the arrest is giving them closure.

Deputies said Jesse McInerney is facing charges of DUI/manslaughter, attempted leaving the scene of an accident with death and vehicular homicide.

Chris Gordineer, St. Lucie County Traffic Homicide investigator, said McInerney is booked into the St. Lucie County Jail.

"We set up an operation to draw him to an undisclosed area. Once he learned we were there, he surrendered himself peacefully," said Gordineer.

Brittany Hare, 14, was walking down Palm Drive in Fort Pierce around 9:45 p.m. on June 17th, when witnesses say McInerney's car hit her from behind.

She died from her injuries, and her grandmother, Bertha Spears, said it's been tough to deal with the loss.


"Being a grandmother, you never expect to lose a daughter, or a son, much less a grandchild before you go," said Spears. "Not too many days go by I don't think of her, and tears well up in my eyes. She was a special girl."


According to Gordineer, toxicology reports show McInerney had multiple drugs in his system at the time of the crash.


"He was under the influence of cocaine, benzodiazepines, which is alprazolam or probably Xanax, and also oxycodone," said Gordineer. 


Since that fatal day, Brittany Hare's family members have been left with more questions than answers.


"What was the man doing behind a wheel?" asked Spears. "What was he doing behind a wheel?"


Authorities said McInerney was driving around 80 mph in a 25 mph zone. 

One witness told deputies after he struck Hare, he got out and yelled, "Oh my God, I hit a child, I have to leave," and "I have to get out of here."


"Several other witnesses had seen him that night prior to the crash driving erratically. One had reported that he was almost in another head-on crash with another vehicle."


Just over a month later, now that he's in jail, Spears said it's the beginning of justice for her granddaughter.


"Whatever happens to the man, it will at least be closure to the family, so that we can go on with our lives," said Spears.


Jesse McInerney will go before a judge Saturday morning for his first appearance in court.

Until then, he is to remain in St. Lucie County Jail on "no bond" for two of his charges.

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