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Hit-and-run driver is jailed over death of Florida student

DUI driver who ran over and killed Florida student, 21, tells court ‘I will always hate myself for what happened’ as he is jailed for 12 years

  • Yousuf Hasan fled the scene after running over a kerb and hitting London Harrell
  • Harrell, 21, died days later in hospital after suffering blunt trauma to her head
  • Hasan pleaded no contest to leaving the scene as part of a deal with prosecutors 

A hit-and-run driver who fatally struck a Florida student as she walked near her university campus was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Wednesday.  

Yousuf Hasan, 26, ran over a kerb and hit University of Central Florida senior London Harrell, 21, as she was walking home from a bar last June. 

Harrell’s body hit the windshield, but Hasan kept driving and later denied hitting her when he was questioned by law enforcement, according to circuit judge Elaine Barbour. Harrell died days later in hospital of blunt trauma to her head. 

Hasan failed a sobriety test and blood tests found the active ingredient in marijuana, but he eventually reached a deal which saw him plead no contest to leaving the scene of the crash while DUI charges were dropped, media outlets said. 

‘I wish it was me, not her,’ Hasan said in court Wednesday, adding: ‘I will always hate myself for what happened.’ 

London Harrell

Yousuf Hasan, left, has been jailed for 12 years over the death of London Harrell, right, in a hit-and-run near her Florida college campus in 2019 

Hasan was arrested after authorities found him and his damaged car at a student apartment complex less than a mile from the crash scene. 

Judge Barbour told Hasan that ‘you were only concerned with yourself’ when he drove away after the crash. 

‘That is a mirror, sir, into your soul,’ the judge said. She also sentenced him to eight years of probation. 

Police body camera footage obtained by the Orlando Sentinel showed Hasan failing a field sobriety test.

A breath test about five hours after the crash did not reveal alcohol in Hasan’s system, but blood tests detected the active ingredient in marijuana. 

Prosecutors agreed to drop DUI charges under a plea deal, reports said. He faced a maximum of 20 years in prison for the remaining charge. 

Harrell’s mother Paula Cobb told the court: ‘He chose to drive so fast that in his words he did not know what he hit. Then he made another choice to leave my daughter to die.’

Writing on social media after the sentencing, she said: ‘Thank you for all your prayers and support.

‘I hope you all remember the greatest justice we can do is to live like London and let your light shine. We can feel safe that he will be off the streets for 12 years and will have another eight of probation.’ 

London Harrell

London Harrell

Victim London Harrell, pictured, was in her senior year at the University of Central Florida, majoring in events management 

Family members had called for Hasan to be ‘put away for the maximum amount of time allowed by Florida law’. 

An obituary published after her death said Harrell was a South Carolina native who was studying events management at the Florida college. 

She was also a keen dancer and a fundraiser for good causes, and before her death she had been in Amsterdam on an internship for tech giant Philips.  

‘London was a beautiful friend that was passionate for helping others,’ the obituary said. ‘Throughout her life she was busy raising money and actively dedicating her time on any cause that was brought to her attention.

‘A princess at heart she was always ready to go on the next adventure, not afraid of anything, loved traveling and spending time with her friends. Always quick-witted, kind-hearted with a smile that would glow even after she left the room.’

In September, Harrell’s family received an ‘in memoriam’ degree certificate from the university, according to her father Mike Harrell.  

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