Woman arrested in fatal DeLand hit-and-run

14-year-old Julianna Hobbs hit, killed in March accident

DeLAND, Fla. - Florida Highway Patrol says they have arrested the person of interest in the DeLand hit-and-run that killed one 14-year-old and injured another back in March.

Danielle Halverson, 50, was named the person of interest last month in hit-and-run crash that killed 14-year-old Julianna Hobbs and injured 14-year-old Rachel Russell as they were walking along Spring Garden Road in DeLand.

Halverson, who lives across the street from Hobbs, told troopers she was "the sole driver of the car."

According to the charging affidavit, Halverson told troopers, "I kind of feel stupid for saying this, but a cell phone was a little bit a part of it, trying to reach for it."

Map: Spring Garden in Deland

Troopers said Halverson's vehicle, a Gold Toyota Corolla, was found a day later on March 18 and were able to confirm it was the correct car by the DNA of the girls' found on the car.

Halverson was booked into the Volusia County Jail on $30,000 bond on charges of leaving the scene of an accident. Troopers said they couldn't prove the crash was entirely her fault, so vehicular manslaughter charges weren't an option. The case will be turned over to the State Attorney's Office for their prosecution.

The lack of arrest for several months had both the Hobbs and Russell's family outraged. Russell's mother says Rachel has had difficulty coping with the death of her best friend.

"It lingers when you see her with her other friends and they're all missing Julianna. It's hard to deal with, it really is," said Barbara Russell, Rachel's mother. "And sometimes you go to bed thinking about it and wonder how someone could do such a thing. Because accidents happen, to run off and leave the scene that's not an accident."

Watch Local 6 for more on this story.

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