John Steele Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison in Hit-and-Run Death of Sean Lynn Ryan
FlaglerLive | February 12, 2015
Early on a December morning in 2012, Sean Lynn Ryan, a 25-year-old, almost-lifelong resident of Flagler County and a young father, was walking along U.S. 1 near Plantation Bay when John D. Steele, driving an SUV, struck Ryan and killed him.
Steele kept going. He would later tell his insurer that he thought he’d hit a deer.
Even then, the law require that he stops. Had Steel stopped and looked into what had taken place, he might have been cited for reckless driving and been fined, but the matter would have likely ended there–unless he was drunk, in which case the penalty would have been more severe.
But he kept driving.
It took an intense investigation led by then-Florida Highway Patrol trooper Randy Naugher. But a year later, armed with DNA and other evidence, Naugher’s investigation led to Steele’s arrest.
He was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, with a death, a first-degree felony.
Thursday afternoon, Flagler County Circuit Judge J. David Walsh sentenced Steele to five years in prison and eight years’ probation. The sentence followed a relatively brief hearing in which Steele, a Daytona Beach resident, apologized to Ryan’s family and asked them to pray for him. He alone spoke on his behalf.
“I want to apologize to the parents wholost a son due to my actions. While I honestly did not see him when I struck him with my car almost two years ago, I do take responsibility for the consequences of my actions. When I finally realized what I had done, I have regretted that night ever since. I am truly sorry. I want to humbly apologize to all of you for what I did, to cause you to lose your son. I realize that nothing that I can say can make him return to you, but please know from the bottom of my heart that I’m sorry, and I ask for your prayers–”
At this point, Steele was overcome with emotion, paused, cried, and continued, with difficulty, saying he would serve his time and ask God to give the family of Ryan the strength to go on with their lives. “I ask you to forgive me,” he said, concluding.
[This is a developing story. More soon.]