Drivers who leave the scenes of accidents aren’t concerned about victims’ injuries or fatalities. They’re worried about themselves. Drivers on the run want to sober up, call an attorney or disappear from the legal radar to escape consequences. People who run or drive away aren’t crash victims, but they are responsible for them.
A young, deaf couple was traveling through eastern Florida near Fort Pierce when their car blew a tire. The 19-year-old woman and her 24-year-old boyfriend were trying to change the flat on the shoulder of the turnpike, when a tractor-trailer crashed into them and the disabled car.
No driver was present to claim responsibility for the truck accident when the couple was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities believe the truck driver who caused the fatal crash was a 66-year-old Seminole County man, with a history of Florida reckless driving citations. The suspect, still on the loose the day after the fatality, apparently never stopped to check the victims’ conditions.
Police learned the driver subcontracted for an out-of-state truck company. An attorney for the missing man contacted investigators, but would not reveal where the driver or Peterbilt truck were located. Officials threatened extra criminal charges, if the damaged truck is changed or remains hidden.
Authorities aren’t waiting for the hit-and-run suspect to surrender. Pictures of the wrecked truck taken from a turnpike tollbooth were distributed to police throughout the state. Florida state troopers are preparing to file the severest possible felony charges against the trucker for fleeing an accident scene.
Florida laws require drivers involved in crashes to remain at the scene and provide “reasonable aid” to victims. Criminal charges increase in severity for drivers who try to avoid capture after a collision. Hit-and-run drivers do no better in civil courts, where reckless defendant actions result in jury awards for victims and surviving family members.
orlandosentinel.com, “Sanford big-rig driver wanted after crash kills Polk couple” Jerriann Sullivan, Oct. 09, 2013