TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) — Detectives are seeing slightly more fatal hit-and-run crashes this year compared to 2022.
Data provided by the Tampa Police Department shows there were two fatal hit-and-run collisions last year. So far, the agency has investigated four fatal hit-and-runs this year alone.
Two of the fatalities occurred this month.
“We’ve had several cases that are just horrific to watch,” said Tampa Police Chief Lee Bercaw.
This month, police responded to three hit-and-runs at these locations:
- Causeway Boulevard, Oct. 12 (fatal)
- Ybor City, Oct. 16 (not fatal)
- North 19th Street Oct. 24 (fatal)
Valarie Lawson’s husband was killed in a hit-and-run this week while riding his bicycle on North 19th Street and 21st Avenue. Surveillance video shows that driver never stopped.
“They hit my husband, you could see his bicycle literally fly, my husband is on the hood on their car, they slow down just enough to dump his body off, let it roll off,” Lawson said.
Jonathan Fitzcharles is another Tampa hit-and-run victim who survived after being struck while riding a scooter in Ybor.
“What I was screaming at the scene was, ‘Am I going to die? Just somebody tell me am I going to die,”’ Fitzcharles recalled.
8 On Your Side asked Bercaw why a driver might decide to keep going.
“There could be a multitude of factors, the first one that comes to mind is maybe drinking,” he said.
According to Bercaw, a driver only makes the situation worse by leaving the victim.
“I had a case where I remember the person left the scene of a fatality, and they got 60 years in prison, so that’s something we take very seriously,” he said.
Bercaw said the best steps a driver can take is stopping, rendering aid to the victim and calling police.