Man charged with fatal car crash has long rap sheet

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - A Bay County judge says Cody Shirah will remain behind bars for the time being. The Lynn Haven man is facing charges related to a wreck Friday night that killed four people.

Shirah is no stranger to the court system and this is not the first time he's been locked up. In the past year he's been arrested for possession of methamphetamine, aggravated assault with a firearm, and domestic battery.

The 21-year-old made his first appearance in court Wednesday.

Shirah told the judge, "I haven't been in no trouble before this last time."

Judge Shane Vann tried to clarify asking Shirah what he meant. Shirah said he thought they were saying he got in trouble in 2010.

Judge Vann replied, "That might be the only year you didn't."

Investigators say Shirah was driving his truck on Friday night when he failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of John Pitts Road and Pinetree Road and crashed into a van full of softball players from Ohio. Four of the men died as a result of the crash. According to the FHP arrest report, the truck Shirah was driving was involved in a hit and run on Highway 231 just minutes before the fatal crash.

The report goes on to say Shirah "denied he was the driver because he was drunk." Shirah is facing four counts of vehicular homicide and four counts of driving without a license causing death or serious injury.

"I've been arrested in my life before this last time, in February," said Shirah. "I've never been arrested before."

According to court records, Shirah was arrested in December of 2015. Reports say he slapped his girlfriend across the face and bit his girlfriend's mother. He then slammed his head against a glass door until it shattered. He was found guilty of domestic battery and criminal mischief in March of 2016.

He was also arrested twice in February of this year. The first time was at an Olive Garden in Panama City. Reports say Shirah pulled a gun on his ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend and threatened to shoot him. During the altercation he also punched his ex-girlfriend in the eye. A couple weeks later he was arrested after an officer found him sleeping in his car outside a Walgreens in Lynn Haven. The officer found marijuana, methamphetamine, prescription pills, and open beer cans in his SUV.

Shirah pleaded no contest to those charges. As part of his probation he was required to take regular urine and blood tests, complete a batterers intervention program, and undergo a mental health evaluation. We did reach out to Shirah in jail, but he denied our request for an interview.

We also spoke with some people who knew him, some saying they were shocked to hear he was involved with something like this. One person told us he knew Shirah had made some bad choices in the past, so he wasn't surprised. Another one of his friends defended him, saying he had a hard life and it got the best of him.

According to the arrest report, officers smelled alcohol in Shirah's truck and saw Budweiser cans. Shirah refused a blood test, so troopers obtained a warrant. They're waiting for the results, which could take a few weeks.