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Lakeland: Community leader charged in fatal hit-and-run
andrewbb (Oct 19, 2016)


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Jarvis Kendrick, a well-known Lakeland community leader, was arrested Monday on charges of leaving the scene of a crash involving death and tampering with evidence.

By Tori Walker

 

LAKELAND — A well-known Lakeland community leader was arrested Monday on charges of leaving the scene of a crash involving death and tampering with evidence.

Jarvis Kendrick, 37, of 7513 Jessamine Drive in Lakeland, is accused of striking a 74-year-old woman with his truck, leaving her to die and then conducting an elaborate scheme in an attempt to cover it up.

Kendrick is a senior vice president at MidFlorida Credit Union, treasurer of the Lakeland Chamber of Commerce, a board member of the Polk Education Foundation and was on the selection committee for Lakeland's assistant city manager.

He was honored as a Polk Emerging Leader last year.

Janice Joy of Lakeland was killed in the early morning hours of Oct. 6 after Kendrick reportedly struck her while she was walking westbound on the side of Duff Road, reports said.

A witness had reported that a dark-colored pickup traveling eastbound struck Joy with the passenger side of the vehicle, causing the side mirror to fall off.

The witness said the driver briefly tapped on the brakes and then sped away.

Detectives found a side mirror at the scene that was meant for a Ford F-150 from 2004 to 2008 and surveillance footage confirmed that was the vehicle that struck Joy.

An anonymous tip sent into the Lakeland Police Department on Oct. 13 provided Kendrick's name and that he is the owner of a gray, 2005 Ford F-150.

 

Detectives made contact with Kendrick's employer and learned he should have been traveling to Long Boat Key for a business meeting the day of the hit-and-run, Judd said.

The meeting was scheduled to start about 8:45 a.m.

Judd said footage obtained from the MidFlorida bank on U.S. 98 North and Duff Road showed Kendrick getting money out at 6:40 a.m. Joy was struck about 6:30 a.m.

Kendrick made the trip to Long Boat Key for the meeting and then flew to Vancouver in Canada from Tampa International Airport the next day.

Kendrick then flew back to Tampa on Oct. 9 and about 11:20 p.m. called the Florida Highway Patrol to report he had crashed into a sign on Interstate 4 near McIntosh Road, reports said.

Judd said detectives who investigated the crash could see no sign of braking, no attempt to avoid the sign and reported that the crash would not have torn off his passenger side mirror.

"He faked this crash on the interstate to get his police report, he notified his insurance company, took the car in for repair and he went home," Judd said. "He went through an elaborate scheme to cover it up."

When detectives asked Kendrick's wife why he was in Vancouver, she said he was supposed to be at a meeting in Orlando.

Judd said, if Kendrick had stopped and helped Joy, he most likely would not have been cited if she was walking in the road. But now he faces a first-degree felony.

There is no evidence Kendrick was under the influence at the time of the hit-and-run, Judd said.

The Ledger profiled Kendrick, who oversees eight Lakeland MidFlorida branches, in 2015 when he was one of the five recipients of Polk's Emerging Leaders.

"I've never seen a man with such manners," Marta Negron, East Polk regional manager for MidFlorida, told The Ledger for the profile. "He carries himself very professionally at all times and he's an overall great guy."

Judd said he expected more out of Kendrick, who is seen as a leader in the community.

"We are shocked," he said about Kendrick's actions. "It wasn't the crash that caused his problems, it was the fleeing and the cover up."

 

Betty Mata, Joy's neighbor and caregiver for 15 years, said the world lost an amazing woman Oct. 6.

"She would sit in my kitchen, I'd put on music and she would get up and dance," she said about Joy. "She would love to dance."

Mata said, before Joy fell into the severe stages of dementia, she was a "smart and very educated secretary."

But as the condition, characterized by impairment such as memory loss and judgment, began to take over her life, Joy continued to fight back, Mata said.

Mata said the one thing she wants the person responsible for Joy's death to remember is the woman whose life was ended.

"Remember her face and know she fought through so much to live," she said. "(He) took her life away and left her to die."

Kendrick's bail was set at $50,000 — $35,000 for the first-degree felony charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving death and $15,000 for the third-degree felony charge of tampering with evidence. He was still in jail Tuesday night.

 

— Tori Walker can be reached at tori.walker@theledger.com or 863-802-7590. Follow Tori on Twitter @Torilwalker863.

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