South Florida chef gets no jail time for fatal hit-and-run

MIAMI (WSVN) - A well-known chef in South Florida has avoided jail time after he took a plea deal for a hit-and-run case.

Standing before a judge on Tuesday morning, Jonathan Eismann was sentenced to one year of probation for the crash that occurred six years ago, killing 29-year-old Jean Carlos Ruiz.

Officers said Eismann crashed his car in the area of Northwest First Terrace and 72nd Avenue on Oct. 10, 2012. When he attempted to flee the scene, he allegedly lost control and struck Ruiz, a pedestrian.

Eismann spoke in court Tuesday and said to Ruiz’s loved ones that he had thought about what happened every single day.

“I cannot imagine your pain,” said Eismann.

He was charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage.

Ruiz is survived by a wife and daughter, who appeared in court for Eismann’s hearing.

“I want to believe him because I want to have peace. Like I told him in court, I want to forgive him,” said Celia Guevara, Ruiz’s wife. “I don’t forgive what he did. I don’t forgive the court. I don’t forgive the justice system. As a matter of fact, I feel more betrayed by them.”

He was ordered to 100 hours of community service, to participate in a victim impact panel, to pay court fees and will not be allowed to drive for a year or have contact with the victim’s family.

The State Attorney’s Office issued a statement following the plea deal hearing stating due to recent laws it has become harder to prove the crash was reckless.

“I do find that being reckless because if he would’ve stopped at the first scene of his accident, my husband would’ve been alive,” said Guevara.

In the statement, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle also stated, “The family was not happy with the resolution in the case.  We knew this prior to extending the offer but we felt that we had no choice as a result of the recent case law decisions.”

The victim’s family pleaded to other families with similar experiences to not give up.

“They should make sure that they go to trial immediately,” said Guevara. “Because of waiting for seven years, everything changed. The law changes, and as you can see, there’s nothing else they can do.”

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