Gainesville Police Arrest Man in Connection with Hit-and-Run Death of UF Student
man arrested

Gainesville Police Arrest Man in Connection with Hit-and-Run Death of UF Student

On July 1, 2021, the Gainesville Police Department (GPD) arrested Joshua Alexander Figueroa, 31, and charged him with failing to stop for a traffic crash that ended in the death of University of Florida (UF) student Margaret “Maggie” Paxton.

The hit-and-run crash occurred in December 2020 on West University Avenue, a street with a long-standing reputation for pedestrian and bicyclist accidents and deaths. A second semester freshman at UF, Maggie Paxton was beloved by many. Her wrongful death devastated not only her family but the UF community as a whole.

We at Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen are very proud to represent Maggie’s family in their fight for justice and a safer University Avenue. Upon news of Figueroa’s arrest, reporters reached out to our South Florida trial firm to learn what the arrest means for the civil case and, more importantly, for those who knew and loved Maggie.

The Independent Florida Alligator, UF’s daily student newspaper, was among the media outlets to consult our firm—Attorney William Mulligan took the call.

“I’ve crossed that same crosswalk,” Attorney Mulligan told The Independent Florida Alligator. “That same road that Maggie was crossing that night, many, many, many times. It hits home with me as well.”

A proud UF alumnus and a lawyer on Paxton’s case, Attorney Mulligan explained how our firm took an “all hands-on deck” approach to uncover the identity of the hit-and-run driver. Through investigation and collaboration with GPD, it was found that the car that struck Paxton on that fateful day belonged to the suspect’s father, Miguel Figueroa. However, eyewitness testimony, information from automated license plate readers, and executed search warrants for the vehicle and Joshua’s cell phone have purportedly identified him as the driver at the time of the crash. He has been charged, therefore, with hit-and-run involving death, per CBS4 News.

According to GPD spokesman Graham Glover in CBS4 News, “[Joshua] did not stop to render aid, did not stop to provide personal or vehicle information as required by Florida state statute.”

CBS4 News also interviewed Attorney Andrew Yaffa, another Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen lawyer working on the Paxton case. He told reporters of how the arrest affidavit shows Joshua knew he hit someone the night of Paxton’s death yet attempted to avoid responsibility. Attorney Yaffa further stated that our legal team has believed Joshua to be the perpetrator for months.

“We believe this is the first of probably several arrests that will take place and should take place,” Attorney Yaffa said in conversation with CBS4 News. “This young man did not act alone. There were folks that knew about this and didn’t come forward and there were folks who probably aided in his attempt to avoid responsibility and hiding the car and everything that’s taken place since the night this young lady was killed until now.”

The Gainesville Sun also reached out to our firm in reporting on Joshua’s arrest: Attorney Stuart Grossman, co-founder of Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen, spoke to its reporters on the matter.

“We have long felt that [Joshua] should be arrested and appreciate the fine work of the Gainesville Police Department,” Attorney Grossman stated, echoing Attorney Yaffa’s statement that our firm has long suspected Joshua. “It’s a great day for the family.”

Attorneys Grossman, Yaffa, and Mulligan and other members of our legal team are also representing the family of Sophia Lambert, another second semester UF freshman who was killed on University Avenue in a crash a month after Paxton. We are determined to find answers and closure for the families of Paxton and Lambert through the civil justice system. In the meantime, we continue to send our deepest condolences to everyone who knew and loved them, including their families who we are honored to work with and represent.

To contact our South Florida firm, call (866) 629-1061.


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