At 12:45 p.m. Friday, Glynn County Superior Court personnel began to retake their seats, waiting for the jury that would soon arrive with its verdict. In a blue dress shirt and black slacks, Jeffrey Dewayne Herrington sat at the defense table to hear his fate decided by the seven men and five women delegated that duty.
Six minutes later, the clerk stood and announced the jurors’ decision — guilty of hit and run, guilty of evidence tampering, not guilty of second-degree vehicular homicide, failure to exercise due care toward a pedestrian and driving while license suspended.
Judge Roger Lane handed Herrington the maximum penalty, six years in state prison.
The accused rarely takes the stand in their own defense, but Herrington did it during the trial and during sentencing. Before the defense rested, Herrington testified he was living in Michigan and was married for a week when a drunk driver collided with his wife’s vehicle, killing her. He said he was able to hold on to their house for three more months, but without their joint income, couldn’t keep it.
An R Street residence passed through his family was in ownership of his father at that point, and he ended up moving to Brunswick and agreeing to take care of the residence in exchange for living there while he pieced his life back together.
The evening of Sept. 15, 2017, Herrington was driving southbound in a GMC Yukon Denali on U.S. Highway 17 near Palmera Lane when he struck 18-year-old Ta’Shara Culbreath, killing her. His testimony largely followed what came before in court, except he said after he knew he struck something, he said he pulled over and looked in the rear-view mirrors to see what he hit, and could not see anything.
Herrington also said he put on the high-beam lights when he made his second pass by the location, and that when we went back later on with two other people, they again hit the brights, to no avail. However, he denied a third trip down the highway, walking on foot with one of his cousins, which came up in testimony Thursday. The jurors took around an hour to come up with their decision.