DeLand man was speeding before crash that killed passenger, police say

Suspect faces vehicular homicide charge

Zachary Caron (Volusia County Jail)

DeLAND, Fla. – A man who was driving nearly three times the speed limit before a crash that killed one of his passengers last year has been arrested, according to the DeLand Police Department.

Records show 22-year-old Zachary Caron was driving a blue Hyundai Elantra on Aug. 7, 2020 with another man in the front passenger’s seat and 21-year-old Nathan Swire in the back.

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The men had just left Swire’s house and were on their way to a liquor store to get alcohol, according to the arrest report.

Police said Caron crashed shortly before 11 p.m. on East Beresford Avenue near DeLand Memorial Gardens in an area that was not well lit and slick with rain. Swire died at the scene.

Skid marks measured 145 feet from the initial impact and parts from the car were found up to 200 feet away, which made investigators immediately suspect that speed was a factor, according to the affidavit.

A witness said Caron lost control and hit several signs before coming to a final rest, records show.

Police said they didn’t suspect alcohol was involved in the crash but they questioned both men about speed and they both estimated it to be about 45 mph at the time, although the passenger changed his story to 50 to 60 mph after he was treated for two broken bones in his spine and released from a hospital.

That passenger also admitted that he felt “unsafe and nervous” before the crash, according to the affidavit.

Records show investigators pulled a crash data retrieval system from the car and determined Caron was driving 95.6 mph five seconds before the crash and 71.4 mph at impact. The speed limit is 35 mph but the recommended speed in the area is 25 mph.

After police said DNA tests verified Caron was driving at the time, he was arrested Tuesday on a charge of vehicular homicide.