POLK COUNTY, FLORIDA - A news report posted on abcactionnews.com states that a man from Winter Haven has been arrested, charged, and now wait for his next hearing behind bars. Police arrested the man following a hit-and-run collision that killed a teenaged girl and severely injured another teen girl on July 4. The suspect allegedly fled the scene after hitting the girls with his truck.
Polk County Detectives have arrested the suspect responsible for killing a teenaged girl and injuring another teenager. On July 4, 2021, at around 10:10 p.m., two teenagers were struck on the westbound lanes of the New Tampa Highway about ½ mile east of Clark Road, Lakeland, Florida.
When the victims were hit by the car, the girls were thrown onto the grass shoulder of the road. The girls were knocked unconscious.
The suspect's vehicle, a white truck, fled the accident scene and did not make an attempt to stop, render aid, or call the police as required by Florida Law.
Police reported that the motor vehicle fled the scene according to the audio taken from the surveillance video recording. The suspect's motor is heard revving and then speeding off after the collision. Both of the victims, both 14-year-old girls, were taken to a local area hospital with life-threatening accident injuries.
One of the pedestrian crash victims was released following medical treatment, and an assessment of her accident injuries was no longer life-threatening. The other accident victim did not awaken from the injuries she sustained and eventually succumbed to her injuries on July 6, 2021.
The suspected driver, a 28-year-old man from Winter Haven, has been charged with:
- Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Injury (Rhird-degree Felony)
- Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Death (First-degree Felony)
- Tampering with Evidence (First-degree Felony)
The police detectives found the suspect based on tips provided by the community.
The Polk County Sheriff stated that an exhaustive search was conducted, and their sheriff's deputies found video evidence was located of the actual accident. The surveillance video identified a late white model Ford F-150 that had an extended cab. This video also recorded that the suspect's truck had a non-transparent covering on the right side, front passenger-side window. The covering's placement was consistent with plastic that is used to cover a broken window. The suspect's truck is seen on the video striking the two girls and fleeing the scene. A search of the fatal pedestrian collision scene for evidence resulted in finding pieces of a 1997-2003 Ford F-150.
On July 14, 2021, Polk County Sheriff's Office received a tip that the hit-and-run suspect was overheard talking about being in the area of the accident on the same night of the collision, and the suspect stated that he knew he hit something but was not certain what it was.
The tip also stated that the suspect worked at Apple Cabinet Makers in Dundee. The suspected motor vehicle was unoccupied and parked in the driveway of the suspect's home.
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