MANATEE COUNTY (WFLA) – It’s been ten months since 13-year-old Tyler Pittard and 47-year-old Donald Keefer were killed in a hit and run crash along U.S. 19 in Memphis. Authorities just made an arrest in the case last week.
Troopers say 46-year-old Zachary Nelson of Palmetto drove his truck off the roadway, struck Pittard, Keefer, and another woman before driving off. He’s charged with two counts of leaving the scene of a deadly crash, leaving the scene of a crash without rendering aid, and tampering with evidence.
His bond was set at $49,000 and bonded out of the Manatee County Jail the same day he was arrested last week.
Pittard’s family tells 8 On Your Side they feel the bond was set far too low.
“These were human lives. He hit them and left them to die on the side of the road like animals and he is walking free for less than $5000,” said Pittard’s grandmother Tammy Fazioli. “Tyler and Don don’t have a bond where they can rise from the grave — their sentence is permanent, our sentence is permanent. They are gone forever and he is still out living his life,” she continued.
Fazioli admits she was glad to learn Nelson was finally charged after waiting nearly ten months since she lost her grandson, but she wants to see justice served.
“I just want him in jail where he can never hurt anybody again and to pay for his crime,” said Fazioli.
Nearby the scene of the crash, a roadside memorial is set up in honor of the two lives lost. There are flowers, small figurines and two large pictures of Pittard and Keefer. It’s a place Fazioli says she visits on a regular basis.
“It’s hard, but it brings me comfort because this is all I can do for Tyler,” the grandmother explained.
Nelson’s arraignment is scheduled for July 10. Pittard’s family tells 8 On Your Side they plan on being there.