Cesar Rojas Is Killed in Hit-and-Run on SR100; Driver and Passenger Have a History
FlaglerLive | December 20, 2015
Last Updated: Sunday, 1 p.m.
Cesar Rojas of Flagler Beach, who was walking on State Road 100 at half past midnight Saturday morning, was struck by a man who with a repeat record of driving on a suspended license and other crimes.
Joseph J. Layer, the 32-year-old driver who told police he struck Rojas, later called in the collision to 911, but only to report that a man had been struck–not that Layer had struck him. Layer, according to authorities, later again called 911 and said he would turn himself in. He said he had a suspended driver’s license and had been scared to own up to the crash.
Rojas was flown to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach, where he died.
The collision took place in the westbound lanes of State Road 100 at the intersection with John Anderson Highway, across from the CVS pharmacy. According to the Florida Highway Patrol’s investigation, Rojas was crossing 100, going north, when he was struck. A witness told police of seeing a gray four-door car striking the victim, who ended up in the middle of the westbound lanes. Jacksonville’s Trauma One emergency helicopter flew the victim to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach.
Layer eventually turned himself in to FHP Cpl. Pete Young. The vehicle involved was a 2008 Toyota XD.
Layer, previously of 424 Bryan Street, has an arrest record dating back to 2002 and 2003, when he was found guilty of a minor drug possession charge and, on a separate occasion, of using an unassigned tag. In 2006 he was placed on probation over a worthless check charge. In 2013 he was arrested on a charge of driving on a suspended license and pot possession, and was placed on probation.
Layer, according to the FHP report, had a passenger with him: Sean Bertram, last of 14 Pine Croft Lane in Palm Coast, who was arrested in 2012 on a charge of drunk driving, driving on a suspended license with knowledge, and two counts of possession of a controlled substance. Two weeks before that arrest, he’d been arrested on a charge of willful and wanton reckless driving, and driving on a revoked license. He was found guilty of the drunk driving charge, guilty of driving on a revoked license and guilty on one count of possession of a controlled substance, a third-degree felony. His license was revoked and he was placed on drug-offender probation. Probation ended last June.
In 2005, Bertram had been found guilty of three similar charges: habitual driving on a suspended license (a third-degree felony), reckless driving, and driving on an expired registration longer than six months. He served three months in jail and was placed on probation.
In 2004, he was found guilty of possession of a controlled substance, a third-degree felony, and was placed on probation, which he violated. Bertram also has numerous traffic citations since 2003, according to court records.
Charges are pending in Saturday’s fatal wreck. The investigation is preliminary. No arrests have been made. Leaving the scene of an accident where a death has occurred is a first-degree felony.