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Police: Florida driver ran over and killed toddler, took off


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (WESH) – A search is underway in Daytona Beach for a driver who took off after running over and killing a toddler, police say.

Officials with the Daytona Beach Police Department said the child was struck near North Charles Street in Daytona Beach. Police said it appears the driver was backing out of a parking space at an apartment complex, hit the child, panicked, then allegedly drove off.

Investigators said they are looking for Earnest Ponder, 29, in connection with the crash.

Investigators said the picture of Ponder that is being circulated is about five months old and they believe he may have shorter hair.

Ponder has tattoos on both arms, and is between 5 feet, 5 inches and 5 feet, 11 inches tall. He was last seen wearing a white shirt, gray shorts, and glasses.

Ponder was gone by the time police got to North Charles Street by George Engram, which sparked a search stretching at least a mile and a half away.

Police took someone into custody over the course of their search, but it’s unclear if that person has any connection to the hit-and-run crash.

“Don’t know why he fled from the scene here, I don’t know but right now. The focus is on the family. We’re trying to get them some counseling and help them out. It’s very tragic,” Daytona Beach police Chief Craig Capri said.


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