Vehicular Homicide: Driver Charged With Century Traffic Death

February 14, 2013

A Brewton man that rear-ended a woman stopped for a school bus in Century last October was arrested Wednesday for vehicular homicide.

The Florida Highway Patrol said 50-year old Sara R. Daw of Flomaton was southbound on Highway 29 at Hudson Hill Road on October 10 when she stopped for a school bus that stopped in the northbound lanes to pick up children.  James A. Richburg, 52,of Brewton was southbound  in a 2008 GMC Sierra pickup on Highway 29 when he failed to stop and rear-ended Daw’s 2001 Chevrolet  pickup.

Daw was transported by Escambia County EMS to Jay Hospital where she died later that morning. Richburg received only minor injuries.

Richburg turned himself into the Escambia County Jail Wednesday afternoon on a vehicular homicide warrant issued Tuesday. He was released from jail after posting a $25,000 bond.

For more photos, click here.

Pictured top and left: The driver of this white pickup, 50-year old Sara R. Daw of Flomaton died as a result of injuries received in a traffic crash the morning of October 10, 2012, in Century. Pictured below: The driver of this pickup, 52-year old James Richburg of Brewton  rear-ended Daw’s pickup. photos, click to enlarge.


45 Responses to “Vehicular Homicide: Driver Charged With Century Traffic Death”

  1. Rody Daw on February 24th, 2013 9:22 pm

    To all parties commenting on this tragedy. – First thank you all for the love and support from the surrounding communities to our family and to the Richburg family as well, you all do not know how much you are appreciated in this event. This is the first time, i read about the incident and of all the comments posted as well, i have read every “single” one of them. I have no doubt bro Tony is a good man and so is his family and would probably give the shirt off of his back, again of that i have no doubt. I wanted to comment something regarding my mother and not of the incident that happened back in October. As most of my friends and family know i am not and was not a well known person to speak of, because of all the mishaps that have befallen me, but i read and read all these posts and think of Mom alot and notice that out of just one or two, where exactly does mothers name appear of all her life she was a loving and caring person as well and the most giving person you would ever come to know, no matter who you were, even knowing the devil as well as the good lord above she would’ve invited you in under her wing no matter what! There are somethings in this world that i do not understand and yes i ask for the divine lord to help me understand, people there are two sides to every story and a cause and an effect for everything, if it’s in God’s hands or not, that is not for none of us to say in my opinion. I do remember alot of verses from the good book. But not one word do i remember where it says you should judge and be judged for all of your wrong doings or mishaps, transgressions etc… whatever you wanna call it folks. My mom was a very beloved woman of all the wonderful things she done for us and mostly for others as well, sometimes we are all careless of the things we do and maybe it is for most to say that god has the wheel “not you”, so when he calls on you to appear before him; guess what will happen? you answer your own questions and voice your own opinions about who did what to who but in the end and forever more god knows what’s in your heart and what ain’t! So worrying and deciding the fate of another is not for none of us to decide but the law states different, but i know one that still stands “obey the laws of the land”. Exactly how many does that? Romans 3:10 – you all know what that verse reads and we’ll leave it at that…..Momma i love and miss you with all my heart and am waiting to see you again! Your Son Rody Lee

  2. Not You on February 17th, 2013 7:24 pm

    It was not an accident it was a collision. This is why the FHP has changed the designation from “motor vehicle accident” to “motor vehicle collision.” The collision occurred through the negligence of one or both drivers. Divine providence had no hand in this collision.

  3. David Huie Green on February 16th, 2013 4:18 pm

    “It appears to me there are several people commenting that accidents don’t happen.. that this man should rot in a prison cell, etc etc.. “

    “Honestly…What good will come from putting this guy in jail?
    He stopped paying attention for a few seconds and this mistake took the life of someone. Yes this is a tragedy. No doubt about it. I would bet my life on it that this man had no intention on killing anyone that day. Putting him in jail will not fix this. “

    Please check all the comments. Up to this point, not a single person has said he needed to rot in prison or go to jail. Most are somehow convinced he had no part at all in what happened.

    They figure — and I agree with them — that he did not intend to kill anyone that day. They don’t care that he didn’t intend to NOT do it.

    What is more, the law doesn’t allow a penalty more than 15 years prison and could be as little as probation (as in, don’t do it again). The law addresses the idea that it’s wrong to kill others by lack of due care through reckless driving.


    “A vehicular homicide- – -is the killing of a person- – -caused by reckless driving of a vehicle.”
    “Vehicular homicide is usually a second degree felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine not exceeding $10,000.“

    Note that a jury would have to agree he was reckless. He may easily be found not guilty or sentenced only to probation.

    I wish all parties well, just wish more drivers believed they should be careful, that THEY can influence outcomes.

    David for justice with understanding and mercy

  4. Russell Lassiter on February 16th, 2013 1:39 pm

    Why is this story even here? I sympathize with the family and the loss of a person I’m certain played a major role in the lives of many. However, the man did not go out with the intention of taking someone’s life. His being charged with the crime is not some great justice being served that deserves to be seen by all.

  5. WWJD on February 16th, 2013 1:26 pm

    People need to grow up. If you don’t know the whole story then keep your nose out of this! Brother Tony is a great man and I understand this doesn’t exempt him from the law but still. It was very clearly unintentional! The news doesn’t tell you everything that happened! People shouldn’t be so harsh. If this happened to you am people were saying bad things about you like this imagine how you would fill! Not good!! God will be the final judge. Not anyone on this earth! Stay strong Richburg and Daw family!

  6. Angela Wright on February 16th, 2013 11:32 am

    This was a horrific ACCIDENT for all involved…Instead of standing in judgement, how about kneeling in prayer for both families!

  7. Margaret Silbernagel on February 16th, 2013 9:15 am

    Dear friends,

    What happened to Tony Richburg and Sara Daw could happen to you or me this afternoon.

    Neither you or I plan to go out and rear end someone; neither you or I want to think this could be our last few hours on earth, but they could be.

    It is easy to judge another person. It is easy to throw unkind and thoughtless comments out, but please understand it most likely will not be long before the tables turn and the comments will be used to destroy the life of those who throw words around so freely!

    Judge not… that you will not be judged. We all find ourselves in the wrong from time to time!

    Let our words be words that heal. Let our prayers be to God for peace and mercy.
    Let us be a people who are compassionate and kind.

  8. Janet on February 16th, 2013 7:54 am

    It appears to me there are several people commenting that accidents don’t happen.. that this man should rot in a prison cell, etc etc.. for having one that cost another her life. Are we so perfect, so “talented” that an accident couldn’t possibly stain our lives?
    I for one won’t say that– Karma has a way of showing just how powerless we are– as the old saying goes, “What goes around, comes around.”
    If you can’t forgive a tragic ACCIDENT such as I see this one (no drugs, no speeding, no alcohol stated in story) then when your accident in life happens, no matter what’s involved, don’t be the one to whine, cry and expect others to forgive you your trespasses. There is such a thing as compassion, although its dying very rapidly in our society… We should start exercise it for our own personal good. As I say that, my heart breaks for everyone, each family for such a tragic loss.

  9. Louis Witt on February 16th, 2013 6:08 am

    I just complained to Gov Rick Scott 2 days ago about no enforcement of speed limit which is probably cause of this fatality I’m sorry I complained to late …I did not know about this accident

  10. Driven on February 16th, 2013 3:01 am

    This is going from what i read in this story…i see no alcohol involved, no drugs…so assuming maybe looked away from road for a spilt drink, or maybe a phone call.

    Honestly…What good will come from putting this guy in jail?

    He stopped paying attention for a few seconds and this mistake took the life of someone. Yes this is a tragedy. No doubt about it. I would bet my life on it that this man had no intention on killing anyone that day. Putting him in jail will not fix this. Whats going to happen is your tax money is going to be spent on feeding him and keeping him comfortable for however long he has to be there. If this man is as good a person as they say, then believe me his guilt has punished him enough. If you still believe he deserves punishment make him lose his liscense for a few years…or make him drive as if he had a learners permit…I honestly believe no good will come from him going to jail.

  11. CD on February 16th, 2013 1:22 am

    Why do people still insist on calling such an event an “accident”? Haven’t you learned yet that an accident is something that is unavoidable? This event was AVOIDABLE, therefore it was NEGLIGENCE. Sad for the gentleman, because we can all certainly understand that the death of this woman was not his intent. Sad for this woman and her family because the man simply wasn’t paying attention.

  12. dan-o on February 16th, 2013 12:49 am

    How can you people be so blind? This woman died from this man’s negligence.
    I would be willing to bet that if it was YOUR family member that was killed, you wouldn’t be so forgiving.

    Just because this man is a “good man” or “Christian” doesn’t mean that he is exempt from the law. Couldn’t he have been distracted by an electronic device, or dozing at the wheel, or eating a sandwich or something? Or do those things only apply to people who are not part of your congregation?

    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but here in the “bible belt,” it’s always “god’s plan” when someone is killed or murdered. Being Agnostic, myself, it’s a little easier to understand that PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE, not whatever entity that you believe in.

    Furthermore, more of you “blind sheep” sympathize with the man that caused the woman’s inexistence (because of his faith) than vice versa.

    Wake up, people! It’s time to take responsibility for your actions and stop blaming them on scripture, which not everyone shares or believes.

    R.I.P. Mrs. Daw & good luck Mr. Richburg

  13. David Huie Green on February 15th, 2013 9:56 am

    “@ David Huie Green
    - – - “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1).”

    That would apply here if the gentleman were the king.
    He isn’t.

    The closest thing we have to a king is President Obama and if you wish, you can argue the Lord directs his every word and action if you wish.

    And, to be perfectly honest, there is something missing in straight acceptance of that scripture because we can read what various kings did and the fact that the Lord condemned some of their actions.

    King Saul tried to kill his servant David several times. That was against God’s will.

    King David had his faithful Uriah murdered so he could hide his adultery with Bathsheba. That was against God’s will.

    King Solomon let his many foreign wives build altars to worship strange gods. That was against God’s will. (And Jesus said the Lord only wanted a man to have one wife at most.)

    Therefore, we can deduce the Lord didn’t direct those kings to do such evil things and accept the possibility other godly men may do things without the Lord directing them to do them, such as ram and kill a woman.

    Of course, I could be wrong as you continue to insist. It is possible the Lord wanted her dead and used him as His instrument, but I just don’t see it.

    David for cautious actions

  14. Abe on February 15th, 2013 7:11 am

    @ So Sad: Well said.

  15. Erin Lambeth on February 15th, 2013 6:51 am

    This was an ACCIDENT! I personally know both families involved and it was/is just as hard on both of them. The State of Florida is just reaching here.. It is so stupid to do this to such a great man. Bro Tony and family and the Daw Family.. My prayers are with you all!! I love both families.. This is a terrible situation and it was truly an accident! Bro Tony is an awesome person he would never hurt anyone on purpose.. He does not deserve this.

  16. Believer on February 14th, 2013 11:46 pm

    Prayers for both families involved. Even what we would normally call “chance” or “fate” is under God’s control. “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD” (Proverbs 16:33).

    @ David Huie Green
    Everything that happens in the world is made to work out according to God’s purpose. Evil exists, but it is not allowed to thwart God’s providence. God uses even sinful men for His purposes. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD; he directs it like a watercourse wherever he pleases” (Proverbs 21:1).

  17. So sad on February 14th, 2013 11:33 pm

    For the ones getting mad at others..vehicular homicide is in lay terms..if I am driving and am texting, turning radio up, looking in back seat at kids and hit someone and kill them that’s vehicular homicide. If it was intentional it would be murder. Not one thing about this charge is accusing this man of intentionally killing her. So my guess is there was some distraction that caused this wreck and this man is getting the penalty for it. It does not however reflect on his character. Good people can do irresponsible things too. I’m sure the details outlying this charge will come out, until then pray for all the ones involved. It can’t be easy. And please take driving as a responsibility and fry to pay attention to everything around you..if you have kids fighting in back seat..take time to pull over before you look back at them, if your texting stop…no text is worth a life. Leave the radio alone if you don’t have hands free. God bless these people.

  18. so..... on February 14th, 2013 9:36 pm

    As far as I know, it used to be the law that if it is a “raised median”, in other words, grass between the two sets of two lanes…a person did not have to stop for a bus…but if there was pavement between the two sets of lanes, then a person had to stop for the buses when they stopped. In Century…from the Pig all the way to the road that goes to the prison…is pavement between the four lanes of highway. The grass median starts where that business is that also sells wood on the right…anyway…this does seem like just an accident, unless it he was speeding and it was determined the speed was over the limit enough to be considered wreckless driving… anyway…just saying…the law has it’s own way of making the determination….

  19. Sandy on February 14th, 2013 9:11 pm

    Vehicular homicide is charged when a person is solely responsible for the death of another person involved in an accident. The fact Mr. Richburg didn’t do anything to avoid the accident, and the woman died as a result, makes him the liable party. It’s truly sad, but that’s the law. I am sorry for the loss of Sara Daw, and pray for the Richburg family. My daughter died last May as a result of an accident, but the person who caused the accident was not “solely” responsible for her death, so he can’t be charged with “vehicular homicide”. It’s a hard law to understand, and that’s how some people “walk” away without any charges.

  20. Concerned for all on February 14th, 2013 8:48 pm

    This is a very hurtful situation for both family’s. I’ve known Mr.Richburg for 15 years and I’ve never heard him say a cross word or hurt anyone he would give you the shirt off his back. I believe everything happens for a reason. I lost my mom at the age of 56 to cancer she didnt even know she had. She lived 4 days after she found out she had it. Hard situation to go through. God has a plan for everyone. We are not promised tomorrow. God had a plan for Sara. I know it doesn’t seem fair but he does. This man doesn’t deserve to be charged with vehicular homicide. This was an honest accident. What I don’t understand is people shoot people everyday in cold blood and have lesser sentence. Somethings wrong with this picture. Just saying. This needs to be investigated thoroughly to get to the truth before an innocent man is convicted on a greater sentence when he deserves a lesser sentence. I believe he has learn’t his lesson. Thinking of both family’s. May god be with you through this difficult time….

  21. Semper FI on February 14th, 2013 8:47 pm

    This is a tragedy for both family’s I have know Tony Richburg for a number of years I have worked close to his son this is a great family. It’s easy to say negative remarks until u are in his position there is no dout that this was an accident and accidents happen people keep that in mind it would be differnt if he was impaired but he wasent. And for the people that critisise this man until you wear these shoes shut ur mouth!!! People is so quick to judge and talk crap until something of this nature happens to u then I’m sure u would have a differnt out look on a situation like this! Having to live with this for the rest of ur life is enough! Brother Tony we will be with u through out this trying time! Our prayers are with u.

  22. melodies4us on February 14th, 2013 8:36 pm

    Preach it Lauren

  23. Lauren Salter on February 14th, 2013 8:02 pm

    I believe 100% this was an accident! Whether people want to admit it or not, at some point while driving we have all been distracted. Granted, I agree we should all take responsibility for our actions. But I know Mr. Tony, and I know he would NEVER intentionally want to hurt anyone. When this happened, it hurt Mr. Tony knowing he hurt someone else. And anyone that knows Mr. Tony knows he is a wonderful person. He would do anything to help anybody. And for the people that are judging him, how would you feel if this was YOU or someone in your family?! People are so quick to speak before they think. Instead of judging and criticizing him, PRAY FOR HIM! Accidents happen, and there are things we all wish we could go back and change. I’m sure this is something Mr. Tony wishes he could change. I’m praying for peace and comfort for both families, and for the Lord’s will to be done.

  24. Not You on February 14th, 2013 7:42 pm

    @Beach: ” It almost impossible to see when that sun hits you in the face. If so, simply an accident.”

    When faced with conditions of limited visibility due to rain, fog, or blinding sunlight, it is your responsibility, as the vehicle operator, to adjust your speed accordingly.

  25. Ifish4 on February 14th, 2013 7:42 pm

    I have lived within sight of where this accident happen for almost 40 years. On this particular stretch of highway the morning sun is not a problem and even through it’s on a hill, anyone in a southbound pickup truck on a clear morning should have a uninterrupted view of a school bus with flashing lights for nearly a half mile.

  26. David Huie Green on February 14th, 2013 5:22 pm

    “Anyone who believes in Christ Jesus as your savior know God is in charge. ”

    So you believe if an adult took a gun, loaded it, cocked it, pointed it at you and blew your head off, he would not be responsible for your death?

    Interesting viewpoint.

    Oh, and if you DO believe the shooter would be responsible, at what point do you draw the line? What could he use to kill you with which you would not consider his fault because the Lord allowed him to do it? (nothing against Mr. Richburg, I’m sure he’s a wonderful man, just wondering about responsibility as you see it)

    Or do you think guns shoot themselves and cars drive themselves?

    David for understanding

  27. Beach on February 14th, 2013 5:13 pm

    I drive highway 29 through Century often. The morning sun can be blinding.
    I wonder if this happened in this case? It almost impossible to see when that sun hits you in the face. If so, simply an accident.

  28. Rachel K. on February 14th, 2013 2:23 pm

    I believe 100% this was accident. Anyone who believes in Christ Jesus as your savior know God is in charge. He has his own plans and he is the ultimate judge! With my human eyes I see no way or justification for vehicular homicide. Brother Tony we are praying for you!!!!

  29. bill2 on February 14th, 2013 1:50 pm

    Mike you are so right .you see it all the time

  30. Mike on February 14th, 2013 12:52 pm

    Kill someone in a truck/car and it’s Vehicular Homicide; Kill someone on a motorcycle and it’s just reckless driving and a $160 fine. Go figure.

  31. paul on February 14th, 2013 12:10 pm

    Sunny skies, dry roads, a big yellow bus with RED flashing lights..There’s no reason to call this “An Accident” it was negligence and I’m glad the law is doing something about it.. People need to pay attention to their driving..

  32. LEO GUY on February 14th, 2013 11:10 am

    Once again, SPEED KILLS.

  33. Praying on February 14th, 2013 10:27 am

    Bro. Tony is a kind, caring, godly person. He is one of those people who would give you the shirt off his back. When this happened it hurt him so much to know that he caused pain to another family. The Daw family never blamed him for this accident and I pray for both the Daws and The Richburgs right now because it is just making them have to relive the whole accident again. I hate that this happened to both of them. Accidents happen and bad things happen but I hate that it happened to such good people. I know that everyone speeds sometimes. And you don’t think that such a simple act of speeding and looking away for one moment can cause something like this but it did. I can’t imagine what they are going through. I know God don’t give you more than you can handle so I am just going to pray for all involved and incourage all of you to do the same please.

  34. candida daw on February 14th, 2013 10:11 am

    this was my mother, an we miss her dearly… she didn’t deserve to go this way… i’m still in shock from it!!! me an mom was so close!!! an i do pray for the richburg family!!! but he should have been watching what he was doing… my mom was the greatest person on earth an god took her home, an gave her wings… we love you mom… miss you so much…

  35. Thinker on February 14th, 2013 9:40 am

    I can only imagine two factors that caused this accident. 1. Driving too fast and following too close. A third might be being distracted somehow.

  36. Felicia on February 14th, 2013 9:12 am

    Praying for Toney…

  37. puddin on February 14th, 2013 8:50 am

    @Donna, sorry for your families loss.
    @MG, no its not divided there. Its right in the middle of town.
    @ Kevin, I was rear ended by the exact same type of truck that he was driving. The combined speed was under 20 mph as determined by PPD. The truck looked almost exactly the same in the front. My guess would be that its designed to crumple that way to absorbe the impact. The woman driving walked away with minor injuries.

    Hope that answered some questions for both of you. Again, so sorry for your loss Donna.

  38. David Huie Green on February 14th, 2013 8:40 am

    Highway is not divided there, not that it is ever okay to slam into stopped vehicles

  39. Abe on February 14th, 2013 7:16 am

    @ Donna: I am sorry for your loss. You and your family as well as Mr. Richburg and his family will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    @Kevin: I would guess that it was determined through the onboard computer, that he was traveling way too fast to begin with. I believe the the speed limit where this happened is 35 mph. The vehicles appear to have been damaged by a much greater speed. If he had been going the speed limit the victim’s injuries probably would not have been mortal. Most all accidents are preventable by an alert driver obeying the law. Thank God he didn’t kill more people such as the children that were trying to board the bus.

  40. David Huie Green on February 14th, 2013 7:09 am

    Florida statutes 782.071 defines vehicular homicide in part as killing of a human by operation of a motor vehicle by another in a reckless manner likely to cause the death of, or great bodily harm to, another.

    I don’t see why anyone would doubt slamming into a vehicle stopped — as she is legally required to do — by a school bus picking up children and hitting it hard enough to kill her would apply.

    David for due caution
    and fewer fatalities

  41. Sam on February 14th, 2013 6:51 am

    Sad situation for all envolved. No drugs, alcohol, etc envolved. Just inattention. The law must run its course. From all i have been told, mr richburg is a good man and has been distraught since the accident. A terrible incident for all envolved.

  42. mg on February 14th, 2013 6:20 am

    Was this a part of 29 that is a divided highway?

    And if so, is it required to stop for a school bus that is on the opposite side of a divided highway?

  43. matt on February 14th, 2013 5:43 am

    There must be some issues not released that pushes this beyond your everyday accident… some sort of extreme negligence on his end must have upgraded it to vehicular homicide. Sad Story.

  44. Kevin on February 14th, 2013 12:40 am

    Im lost. and first of all my prayers go out to all. But I don’t understand how this is a vehicular homicide. there are accidents everyday that claim the lives of people even just as this one. I could understand vehiclular homicide if he was drunk or deliberately hit her. But it seems to me that he just hit her. accidents happen. am I missing something? I mean let me know if I am but I don’t see justification for vehicular homicide

  45. Donna Lambeth on February 14th, 2013 12:29 am

    This was so sad for a lot of people. Sara is my mom’s cousin and therefore my second cousin. I miss her and I know that a lot of other people miss her as well. I can’t say anything bad about this, other than it hurt Sara’s family and this man and his family as well. Accidents do happen and terrible consequences follow for both families and their loved ones’. I pray for both families to have strength to deal with the pain of the accident, losing Sara, and the charges this man faces.

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