GPD arrests driver in fatal West University crash

The Gainesville Police Department arrested Joshua Alexander Figueroa Thursday for failing to stop after the December 9 crash on West University Avenue that killed UF student Margaret Paxton.

The GPD said the on-scene investigation showed that Paxton was crossing West University at a designated crosswalk when she was hit by a driver that fled the scene without stopping to render aid or provide personal information that is required.

In a press release, the GPD said Figueroa was positively identified as the driver after law enforcement gathered information from eyewitnesses, an Automated License Plate Reader, and search warrants for the location of the vehicle that hit Paxton and for Figueroa’s cell phone.

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“GPD once again extends its sympathies and prayers to the family and friends of the Paxton family,” the press release said.

West University has drawn increased scrutiny and protective measures after Paxton’s death and the death of Sophia Lambert, another UF student who was killed while standing on the West University sidewalk on Jan. 16.

UF and the GPD implemented the Gator STEP program in response to the two deaths. In May, the city added speed tables to West University and lowered the speed limit after an engineering analysis.

In March, the families of Paxton and Lambert filed separate lawsuits against Uber, Figueroa and other drivers involved in the Jan. 16 crash.

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