TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A trial is underway for the suspect in a deadly 2020 hit-and-run.
Ryan Denzel Smith-Mosley is accused of being behind the wheel in January of that year, hitting a man with his car and then driving away. The victim was Jeremiah Bruce, a Tallahassee man who was 26 at the time. Bruce died in the hospital about a week after the crash.
The state laid out its case against Smith-Mosley Wednesday. Prosecutors say Smith-Mosley was on his way to a movie date at the AMC theater on North Monroe that night when he crashed into Bruce and sped away.
His date testified Wednesday, saying Mosley was 25 minutes late to the movie theater.
The state called more than a dozen witnesses, including a woman who was driving by when the crash happened. She said when she circled back to find out what happened, the car that hit Bruce was nowhere to be found. A friend with her called 911, and Bruce was taken to the hospital.
Doorbell camera footage from that night shows a car speeding away after the crash.
Prosecutor Andrea Diaz also called several FHP troopers to the stand who had collected fragments of the car involved in the crash that night.
“They were able to come up with the make, model, approximate year of the vehicle that was involved in the crash would have been,” Diaz said. “Guess what? It’s the defendant’s car.”
During opening statements, Smith-Mosley’s lawyer, John Stevenson, argued that Smith-Mosley wasn’t driving his car the night of the crash. He said his client plans to take the stand to defend himself.
“He’s going to get up here and he’s going to tell you, ‘It wasn’t me. I didn’t do this,’” Stevenson said. “Now, the state is going to try to present a lot of evidence showing that his vehicle was involved. We’ll see. But that said, he wasn’t driving his vehicle that night.”
Jeremiah’s father, Michael Bruce, was in the courtroom Wednesday. He said being here for this trial has been difficult.
“All kinds of emotions — mad, sad, just very anxious for this to finally come to an end,” he said. “It’s been three years now and it’s really taken a toll on my family.”
Michael Bruce told WCTV his son left behind a daughter, who is now 7 years old. Michael Bruce said he’s been taking care of her ever since her father died.
The trial is expected to last all week.