Teen charged with leaving scene of fiery crash that killed truck driver

WFLA Web Staff -

SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) -- A Lakewood Ranch teen was charged with leaving the scene of a deadly crash in connection with a fiery accident on I-75 that killed a tanker driver and tied up traffic for hours on Tuesday.

RELATED: Truck driver's wife: 'My heart is broken'

Florida Highway Patrol investigators say the 16-year-old was driving a 2008 Volvo southbound on I-75 around 3 a.m. on Tuesday when his car was hit in the rear by a tanker carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline near Fruitville Road.

The tanker veered onto a grassy area off the interstate, overturned and burst into flames near the 211 mile marker. The driver of the tanker, Robert D. Drewelus age 53, of St. Petersburg, was ejected and killed.

Investigators say the teen drove away from the scene of the crash. He and a 15-year-old boy were the only people in his car.

The teen's Volvo was later found at the Gateway Lakes Apartments at 1000 Marlin Lakes Circle in Sarasota.

Authorities found the boy at a residence in Bradenton's Lakewood Ranch community. He was arrested at 7:02 a.m. and charged with leaving the scene with death, a second degree felony, and violation of a learner license restriction.

The crash closed I-75 in both directions shortly after the crash. Northbound lanes were reopened at 4:32 a.m. The inside southbound lane was reopened at 7:51 a.m., the center southbound lane was reopened at 1 p.m.

As of 2:20 p.m., the outside southbound lane of I-75 remained closed for scene processing and cleanup.

Lt. Greg Bueno with FHP reminds drivers it is illegal to leave the scene of a crash. "If you're involved in a traffic crash, you must remain on scene, it's that simple. The problem is as soon as you leave the scene, you've made a bad decision worse. At that point you've committed a crime."

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