Pickup truck driver accused of hitting, killing middle schooler heading to trial

Jesus Navarro, 13, never made it home on the night of May 6, 2018. Prosecutors say he was walking on the shoulder of SR 574 towards Mott Road in Hillsborough County, when he was struck by a pickup truck

They say the driver for the white Ford F-250 never stopped to render aid, leaving Navarro, a middle school student, dead on the side of the road. 

Jesus Navarro, 13, who was hit and killed by a Ford pickup truck in 2018.

Prosecutors say the hit-and-run driver that night was Harold Langley. 

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Now, nearly five years later, Langley is going to trial, but his lawyers are hoping to put one of the traffic homicide investigators who worked this case on trial, too. 

Pictured: Harold Langley in a Tampa courtroom.

Defense Attorney James Gallagher pointed out former Officer Gregory Nelson was fired from Florida Highway Patrol in August 2019 after he was arrested for a DUI. Months later, he was hired by Plant City Police Department as a patrol officer. 

While on duty there, he got in trouble again. As Gallagher explained, "he then crashes his vehicle provided by Plant City police in another DUI, I believe on Christmas Eve, and then he was fired by the Plant City Police Department." 

Pictured: Gregory Nelson, a now Plant City police officer who was fired from the Florida Highway Patrol after a DUI. 

Gallagher questioned how Nelson was able to dodge jail time in these two arrests. He even suggested Nelson was shown favoritism by prosecutors in exchange for helpful testimony at trial.

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Pictured: Plant City police officer Gregory Nelson, who was fired from the Florida Highway Patrol after a DUI. 

But prosecutor Christine Brown strongly objected to that accusation and urged the judge to keep the troubled officer's criminal past out of the trial. 

"There’s nothing about his testimony that would suggest that a DUI would color his testimony or would be relevant in the circumstance to cross-examine him," argued Brown. 

Tampa Judge Michael Williams heard arguments from both sides and decided to hold off on ruling until testimony begins in the trial.