December 18, 2016 

Witnesses needed to ID driver in hit and run

Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is asking for the public’s help identifying an unknown driver who struck two bicyclists in Collier County late last night. 

Around 11:58 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, two men were riding their bikes eastbound on the right edge of Pine Ridge Road, just west of Forest Lakes.  The driver of a Hyundai Elantra struck the rear of the first cyclist, yet neglected to stop and render assistance.  The driver continued down the road, subsequently hitting the second cyclist.  The impact of the second crash actually dragged the man for a short distance, before he finally broke free.  Again, the driver continued forward and never stopped to assist the two victims.  Both men, ages 25 and 32, were transported to Naples Community Hospital with critical injuries. 

Early this morning, troopers with the Florida Highway Patrol found the suspect’s vehicle, however the driver remains unidentified.  Crime Stoppers is asking for anyone who may have witnessed the crashes, or who may have information on the identity of the driver, to come forward and share the information they have. 

“Two men were seriously injured as a result of this drivers negligent actions, and that person made the conscious decision to keep going and not stop the car and try to help,” said Trish Routte, Crime Stoppers Coordinator.  “The right thing to do would have been to stop and call for emergency assistance.  But the minute the driver chose to leave turned what may have been an accident into a felony crime.” 

Last year, there were 92,000 hit and run crashes in Florida.  Of those instances, 19,000 injuries were reported, with 1,200 of the victims seriously or critically injured.  Under Florida law, a driver MUST stop immediately at the scene of a crash resulting in injury.  If a driver chooses to flee, as in last night’s instance, what may have simply been an accident now becomes a felony crime punishable by a mandatory minimum of four years in prison. 

Anyone with information on the identity of the driver, or who may have witnessed the crashes, is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS (8477).  All callers will remain anonymous and will be eligible for a cash reward of up to $1,000.  Tips may also be made online at www.southwestfloridacrimestoppers.com or by submitting a tip on the P3Tips app.