Jolly talks about fatal 1989 car crash

Florida House Republican candidate David Jolly is facing fresh scrutiny about his role in a 1989 car crash that resulted in a man’s death.

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A local CBS affiliate heard about the long-ago crash through a “tip,” and Jolly told the station he felt it was meant to exploit the situation for political purposes during his special election race next month to succeed the late Rep. Bill Young (R-Fla.). 

"I don't know who has pushed this story, but I believe it to be a heartless individual who has clearly never lost anyone close to them or experienced such a tragedy," he told WTSP.

Blair Warren Ropes was the man walking down the side of the road who died after Jolly, then 16 years old, hit him while driving home from a movie with a friend. 

Jolly told 10News he stopped his car and ran to get help after the crash, and returned to the scene. He said he was ultimately not charged for the accident and “exonerated of any culpability.”

"It took several years for me to get to a place of peace, but not something anybody would ever get over," he said.

Jolly added: “I’ll be honest, for several years, it challenged my faith. I questioned how such things could happen, but tragedy occurs."

He also said that bringing it up during his campaign just weeks before Election Day, “dishonors both Blair and [his girlfriend] Sandra and their families and their heartbreak, and it disrespects what ultimately is a human tragedy that no one should ever have to experience."

Jolly is tangled in a tight battle with Democrat Alex Sink for the district, which became more competitive for Democrats with Young’s passing but isn’t a lock for either candidate. The election is scheduled for March 11.