HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, FL. – During September, a Hillsborough County search warrant and property seizure was conducted to investigate a potential traffic homicide that occurred on August 20.
It was originally reported by Florida Highway Patrol in its Florida Traffic Crash Report as a simple “failure-to-yield” citation with two vehicles traveling within the lawful speed limit of 45 m.p.h. at North Dale Mabry Highway and West Sligh Avenue.
However, the accident is claimed to have taken the life of driver Krista Lynn Richter, 65, who was traveling with her husband, Peter Richter, in their 2016 Nissan Murano.
As Mrs. Richter headed southbound on North Dale Mabry, she turned left onto West Sligh Avenue as Hillsborough County Jail Deputy, Daniel Hernandez traveled northbound on North Dale Mabry Highway in his 2020 Ford Mustang. The Richters were struck as she turned in front of Hernandez’s vehicle.
According to the Affidavit for Search Warrant, Krista Lynn Richter died of her injuries on August 29 at St. Joseph’s Women’s Hospital. Due to Mrs. Richter’s delayed death, traffic homicide investigators were not involved until August 30.
Since then, contradictions about the facts of the accident have arisen. An engineering firm hired by Peter Richter’s legal counsel reported in September that Daniel Hernandez’s traveling rate of speed was 109.2 m.p.h., according to imaged data from Hernandez’s vehicle data recorder.
The Florida Highway Patrol’s “Florida Advanced Investigation and Reconstruction” (FLAIR) Team 3 agreed with the engineering firm’s findings and established the high rate of speed was occurring 1.5 seconds before the Richters’ vehicle was struck. Video surveillance from Enterprise Rent-A-Car also validated that a high rate of speed over 90 miles per hour occurred.
The Free Press contacted Peter Richter about the accident and investigation.
Mr. Richter said, “It was a total shock to us that he hit us…it was clear for her to proceed. I looked, she looked, and he just came out of nowhere.”
He said her cause of death was from injuries including trauma causing her heart to stop and broken bones.
“During the accident, I saw her leg going around like it was a sock in a dryer, just going around. It was horrible. The car was totaled. I spent four days in intensive care at St. Joseph and two full weeks at Advent Acute Rehabilitation Center…I’m very lucky. I had four fractured ribs, my liver was lacerated, my sternum, hip, and left ankle were fractured, plus I had a concussion.”
Mr. Richter wished to convey the dangers of speeding to the public.
“All cars do have the data recorders in them now. Be careful of your speed at 109.2 miles per hours – it isn’t speeding. It’s murder. So, my wife lost her life and this gentleman is probably going to suffer as well for a good portion of his, so nothing is gained by going fast.”
Richter said he isn’t doing too well but is attending counseling. He indicated he was married to Mrs. Richter for 35 years. She was eleven months away from retiring from Chase where she served in the mortgage department.
A witness to the accident was called but contact was not made. Law enforcement agencies do not comment on pending investigations.
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