After a sudden no-contest plea, Jarvis Strickland has been sentenced to 25 years in prison for fatally striking Wakulla High School track coach Paul Hoover with his car, according to the state attorney’s office. 

Strickland, 42, was charged with vehicular homicide, leaving the scene of a crash involving death, arson of a vehicle and tampering with physical evidence. He entered his plea before opening statements Tuesday morning — the first day of his trial. 

Jarvis Strickland, 38, is being charged with the fatal May 2017 hit and run of Wakulla track coach Paul Hoover.

A no contest plea means a defendant does not admit guilt but chooses not to defend the case at trial.

Preparing for a trial that never occurred, state prosecutors entered evidence against Strickland: Photographs of the crash scene and arson scene, and an autopsy report.

According to investigators, Strickland struck and killed Hoover who was in the crosswalk on Springhill Road on a Tuesday evening in May 2017. An avid runner, 66-year-old Hoover was running the Georgia, Florida & Alabama Trail when he was killed.

Strickland fled the scene, but soon police found his 2000 Toyota Camry “completely destroyed” by a fire, which investigators say was arson in an effort to destroy evidence. 

The back story:

The Florida Highway Patrol, which headed the investigation, determined that Strickland was driving at least 86 mph at the time of the crash as he blew past “multiple warning signs and flashing lights of the impending crosswalk, during daylight hours.”

Banner at the Potluck Dash honoring the late Wakulla High Coach Paul Hoover who was killed by a hit and run driver while running in 2017.

Investigators noted that remnants of the crash lingered long after the tragic incident: Strickland’s tires left 324 feet of skid marks on the road that were visible for three years.

Neither Strickland’s attorney nor prosecutors replied to requests for comment. 

Strickland entered a no contest plea in August 2021, the day his trial was initially set to begin, but he later withdrew the plea. 

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