Nearby video surveillance showed Prater entering the car, then later returning it with front bumper damage, according to police. Prater’s clothing in the video matched witness descriptions of what the driver was wearing at the time of the crash.
The senior Prater was booked into the Hillsborough County jail on Tuesday on charges of leaving the scene of a crash involving death and driving without a valid license.
During Prater’s first court appearance on Wednesday, Circuit Judge Jeffrey Rich ordered him to be held in jail without bond until at least Friday, when a hearing will be held on a motion by the Hillsborough state attorney’s office to keep him in custody until his case is resolved.
Records show Prater has a lengthy arrest history in Hillsborough dating back to 2001 and served time in state prison for grand theft, aggravated assault and resisting law enforcement with violence, among other crimes. He also has previous convictions for DUI and driving without a valid license in addition to the 15 license suspensions on his driving record, records show.
“I hope this swift arrest will provide a small sense of closure for the Falica family, as well as the extended family from the U.S. Postal Service, as they all continue to navigate this tragedy,” Tampa police Chief Lee Bercaw said in a news release Tuesday night.