TV20 EXCLUSIVE: Former friend of Joshua Figueroa, the driver accused of hitting and killing Maggie Paxton, speaks out
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Rose De Cotiis was a friend of Joshua Figueroa, but after he went months without turning himself in, that friendship ended.
“I had no clue that he had done it, and I saw him since then. He pretty much acted like everything was normal,” explained De Cotiis.
She said she saw him driving the BMW, which is the car at the center of the case before the fatal accident occurred but never after. After knowing Figueroa for years, De Cotiis said he abused alcohol. While she doesn’t know if he was drinking and driving the night of the accident, De Cotiis wasn’t surprised he was suspected of committing the crime.
“I can’t say I was surprised. I was angry, that was my first feeling. I was incredibly angry that somebody could go throughout this entire year almost not saying anything,” explained De Cotiis.
She said when the car driven by Figueroa that is owned by his father, Miguel Figueroa, became of interest to law enforcement, and her former friend turned to her for help.
“There are texts around that same time he was saying that he was freaking out having a panic attack. He just talked to his dad and that he wanted to call me later,” said the former friend. “When we had talked, it was very much I’m just depressed.”
De Cotiis wants the Paxton family to know former friends of Figueroa who were in their circle do not support him.
“I just wanted people to know, and maybe if the family saw it that even people are his friends, me as his friend, he doesn’t have anyone on his side. He doesn’t have me on his side. I don’t think anyone else that was a part of our community that we have built as friends they are not on his side because it is unacceptable what he did, and I wanted people to know that,” explained De Cotiis.
It is unknown if Figueroa was in the car with anyone else at the time of the accident. Court records reveal he has been to traffic court no fewer than ten times in Alachua County alone — the worst case was for careless driving in 2012.
As of Friday night, Figueroa remains in the Alachua County jail on a $20,000 bond.
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