PALMETTO, Fla. — A man accused of being under the influence of meth when he was handed a nearly 25-year prison sentence on Wednesday.
State Attorney Ed Brodsky announced in a press release that Aaron Naylor, of Parrish, was given 24 and a half years in prison, followed by mandatory probation of six months to take part in a DUI drug treatment program, and had his driving privileges permanently revoked.
Authorities said Naylor was high on meth when he drove onto a sidewalk on 8th Avenue West on March 23, 2022, just after 6 p.m., and hit a 7-year-old boy.
According to the press release, Alex Linzi and his son James were jogging together on the sidewalk after his son’s martial arts class. The father and son were enjoying each other’s company “as they often did” when Naylor sped onto the sidewalk, the release said.
Naylor narrowly missed Linzi but ran “directly through and over” James, who suffered multiple severe injuries and ultimately died later that evening. Police at the time said Linzi tried to push his son out of the way.
Authorities said Naylor was in possession of methamphetamine and alprazolam, which were found in the rented van he was driving. Naylor’s blood later tested positive for a large amount of meth, the press release said.
Assistant State Attorney Garrett Franzen, the lead prosecutor on the case, said, “We are pleased the judge ruled on the side of justice and sentenced the defendant to the maximum sentence possible in this case. While nothing will ever bring back the life of their son, who already at seven years old showed great promise and a bright future, we hope that this at least brings some sense of closure and peace. It was through the excellent work of the Palmetto Police Department, working in conjunction with other local law enforcement, that this case was able to be resolved quickly, efficiently, and justly.”