Local Law Firm Settles Fatal Hit-and-Run Accident

Driver told authorities he struck a deer

Driver who left scene in a company van told employer and authorities he had struck a deer

PORT ORANGE – Luis Gracia, a partner in the Port Orange-based law firm of Rue & Ziffra, recently won a settlement in a 2013 hit-and-run case that left a 24-year-old Oak Hill man and his girlfriend dead along State Road 44 in New Smyrna Beach. Gracia, who has been with the personal-injury firm since 1998, represented the estate of Zachary Kahle. After their car broke down on Aug. 6, 2013, Zachary Kahle and his girlfriend Savannah Jo DeJarnette were struck and killed by a plumbing van as they walked along S.R. 44 just east of Sugar Mill Drive. Authorities said the couple, thrown some 200 feet from the site of the initial impact, was left in the grass along the shoulder of the busy road. “Because the driver of the vehicle that hit Zach and Savannah fled the scene, we had to investigate the accident to determine what occurred and who caused the incident”, said Gracia. Brian Kennedy, 37, was driving a company van home from work when he hit the two and fled, according to police reports. Records show he was charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving death and driving with a suspended license after telling authorities and his employer that he had struck a deer on his way home. According to Gracia, the insurance company that covered Kennedy paid its policy limits of $2,000,000 dollars to resolve the entire case. “While we’re pleased with the recovery we obtained for the Kahle family, no amount of money will ever bring Zach back”, Gracia said.