110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
Woman charged in DeLand hit-and-run is found dead
14-year-old victim's family begged judge not to release her from jail
By Jen Horton
posted Dec 4, 2012 - 12:35:35pm
Danielle Halverson, 50, the woman charged with leaving the scene of a crash that killed one 14-year-old and injured another, is dead.
Halverson's body and a suicide note were discovered Dec. 3 by a deputy from the Volusia County Sheriff's Office who had gone to Halverson's DeLand home after being called by Halverson's boyfriend, who was worried about her.
Just 20 days ago, the sister of the girl who died in the crash had pleaded with Judge William A. Parsons not to release Halverson from jail.
After missing a court date, Halverson had been jailed. At a Nov. 14 hearing over whether to reinstate bail so Halverson could get out of jail, Courtney Meyers, the sister of 14-year-old Juliana Hobbs, told Parsons she believed Halverson had tried to kill herself on multiple occasions. Meyers asked the judge to not reinstate Halverson's bail, because Meyers believed Halverson was a danger to herself.
Meyers told the judge she did not want Halverson to kill herself; instead, she wanted justice for her sister in the form of a court trial.
"Your remaining concern is that she might hurt herself?" Parsons asked Meyers. "Interesting, I haven't heard that perspective."
Parsons reinstated Halverson's bail. Meyers burst into tears as he made the determination.
Ruth Russell, the mother of the other 14-year-old who had been walking with Juliana when the two girls were hit in March, also attended the hearing.
"I can't believe they let her out. I just don't think it's right," Russell said after Parsons ruled.
Halverson posted the bail and was released. A trial had been tentatively set for Jan. 28.
Now that trial won't happen; Halverson is dead.
According to the
The door was unlocked. Deputies found Halverson in bed with sheets pulled over her body, and a red-color fluid coming coming from her nose and mouth. According to the Sheriff's Office report, she was warm to the touch, and there was no sign of injury to her body.
Halverson was removed from the bed, and rescue workers from EVAC and the Volusia County Fire Department began CPR efforts. She was taken to Florida Hospital-DeLand, where she was pronounced dead at 11:39 a.m.
Deputies did not see any medication or alcohol in the bedroom, according to their report. They found a suicide note on the kitchen table. The note has not been released to the public.
Deputies spoke to James Hanna, 59, Halverson's boyfriend. Hanna had been arrested Nov. 13 and was charged with tampering with evidence and being an accessory after the fact to the fatal hit-and-run accident on March 17.
According to the Sheriff's Office, Hanna told the deputies Halverson had been depressed about the crash. Deputies reported that Hanna said Halverson had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression.
Deputies also said Hanna told them he and Halverson last spoke at 6 p.m. Dec. 2, and Halverson sounded normal to him. Around 9:54 a.m. Dec. 3, Hanna called Halverson, and had no response. He sent a neighbor to check on Halverson, and when there was no response to the neighbor knocking on her door, Hanna called 911.
The case is still being investigated by the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.
Meyers was not immediately available for comment as of press time.
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