Sacto 9-1-1
July 26, 2013
Hit-and-run driver who fled country headed to prison

A man who abandoned his vehicle following a hit-and-run crash, then reported the car stolen, has been sentenced to 13 years and eight months in prison.

Joseph Holyfield pleaded guilty to insurance fraud, hit and run with injury, driving under the influence causing injury and lying to a law enforcement officer, according to a Sacramento County District Attorney's Office news release. He also admitted to a previous "strike" conviction for attempted robbery.

On June 24, 2010, Holyfield was returning from boating with family and friends at Rollins Lake, and after consuming approximately 18 beers, officials said. Once home, he took his wife's BMW to meet his drug connection.

At Greenback Lane and Walnut Avenue in Orangevale, he ran a red light traveling more than 65 mph, hitting a Kia occupied by a family of three. The Kia spun in circles and hit a Volvo. The three people in the Kia and the driver of the Volvo were injured.

Holyfield reportedly got out of the BMW and ran to his nearby tattoo shop, where he enlisted an employee to drive him home. Officials said he immediately reported the car stolen to the California Highway Patrol, the Citrus Heights Police Department and his insurance company, Anchor General.

Holyfield was arrested after an investigation by Anchor General and the Department of Insurance. But before the preliminary hearing, while on bail, Holyfield fled the country to the island of St. Maarten, where he started another tattoo business.

When St. Maarten police tired of his alcohol and and drug-fueled behavior, prosecutors said, they put him on a plane to Puerto Rico, where he was arrested by the FBI.

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