A former Fort Lauderdale cop who hit and killed a pedestrian on Federal Highway and, it was later learned, regularly topped speeds of 90 mph while driving in his patrol car was sentenced Friday to 60 days in jail.
After a Broward County jury acquitted Alexander Griss last month of vehicular homicide and convicted him instead of misdemeanor reckless driving, the judge was restricted to imposing no more than a 90-day jail sentence.
Circuit Judge Ilona Holmes reminded Griss that when he was a police officer, he was supposed to adhere to a higher standard.
“We gave you a car, a badge and a gun and that was to protect and defend the citizens,” she said. “Not to continue with a penchant for a lead foot.”
Along with 60 days in jail, she sentenced Griss to six months’ probation, a $250 fine and 100 hours of community service. She suggested his service hours be spent speaking to youth about the dangers of driving too fast.
Just off duty and heading home at about 5:20 a.m. in June 2006, Griss barreled down Federal Highway at speeds of up to 90 mph when he hit Althea Tobias McKay as she crossed the street. Her body flew 112 feet.
Upon taking the witness stand Friday, McKay’s daughter, Alexandria Brown, broke into tears, something she said she has done daily since losing her 39-year-old mother.
“I don’t have a mom anymore,” she said. “I was 19 when my mom died. I have to live with this for the rest of my life.”
When Griss took his turn on the stand, he offered a tearful apology to McKay’s family for the “tragic accident,” yet disputed that he drove at speeds as high as others testified to.