A Florida sheriff's deputy won't face charges in the high-speed crash that killed a 15-year-old boy earlier this year, prosecutors said.
Hillsborough County Sheriff's Deputy Philip Montesi was driving 21 mph over the speed limit in January when he slammed into young Josiah Pinner, killing him on the scene, but county's state attorney said "speed alone" isn't enough to justify criminal charges.
The Hillsborough County State's Attorney's Office announced the decision on Tuesday, ending a months-long review of the sheriff's office's previous findings.
"My office’s determination that Deputy Montesi did not commit any crime in connection with this matter does not minimize the tragedy of Josiah Pinner’s death," Hillsborough County State Attorney Andrew Warren said in a statement. "Although the evidence establishes that Deputy Montesi was driving above the speed limit at the time of the accident, Florida law holds that speed alone is insufficient to establish vehicular homicide."
Montesi, 29, said he was speeding to catch up with other deputies when he swerved his vehicle on Jan. 11 to avoid hitting Josiah's friend, who was walking his bike across the road, but he ended up hitting Josiah, who was walking behind him.
The office's decision concluded a months-long review that could have ended with Montesi facing charges of vehicular homicide or other charges for leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
Warren said the officer drove through the Tampa intersection where the accident occurred, but he "promptly turned his car around" when he realized what happened.
Hillsborough Sheriff Chad Chronister placed the officer on a five-day suspension, without pay, for Sheriff's Office Standard Operating Procedure for speeding even though he wasn't involved in an emergency operation.
However, the boy's family said the penalty wasn't harsh enough and called for Montesi to be fired and charged.
"That’s what makes me angry, he took my son and only got a five-day suspension," Jesse Pinner, Josiah's dad told ABC affiliate WFTS on Tuesday. "That just shows you how that badge protects them."
His grandmother, Tammy Pinner, echoed that sentiment.
"They are defending one of their own," Tammy Pinner said. "We would be charged with speeding, careless driving, everything that he hasn’t been charged with we would be charged with."
The sheriff's office did not respond to ABC News' request for comment, but it told local media outlets that it agreed with the decision not to file charges.
“My heart pours out to this family, but if this was any other citizen that would’ve been in the deputy’s shoes that night, in that car, the findings would’ve been the same,” Chronister told WTVT on Wednesday. “There’s no criminal wrongdoing, so I understand they want the deputy in prison. That’s just not the case.”