Hit and Run Driver in 2011 Beach Accident Found Guilty

Jeremiah Paul Cahours was found guilty as charged in Bay County Thursday night of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash with death.

Assistant State Attorneys Jennifer Hawkins and Bob Sombathy took the case to trial over a long single day. Hawkins told jurors in her opening statement that the issue came down to the decisions that Cahours made that resulted in the death of Marija Kostova the night of July 3, 2011.

Kostova, 22, was riding her bike through the Cabana West Apartments on Alf Coleman Road around midnight when she was struck by Cahours’ SUV. Cahours, 32, who lived in the complex and his roommate had been firing off fireworks before Cahours’ girlfriend asked him to go to the store for her.

Witnesses said Cahours had been drinking most of the evening. The jury was told Cahours’ first bad decision was getting behind the wheel. His second bad decision was continuing to drive after the passenger in the car set off a large firework that filled the vehicle with smoke and sparks.

It was while the car was filled with smoke that Kostova was hit. Cahours drove away from the scene and was arrested months later after the passenger came forward with information to the police, including statements Cahours made that indicated he knew he hit someone on a bike that night.

Circuit Judge Michael Overstreet scheduled sentencing for April 1. Cahours faces up to 30 years in prison.