Officials make arrest in hit-and-run that killed 13-year-old in Manatee Co.

Manatee County

Manatee County Sheriff’s Office

PALMETTO, Fla. (WFLA) – Officials have made an arrest almost a year after a 13-year-old boy and 47-year-old man were hit and killed while walking on the grass shoulder of US 19 in Manatee County.

Family members said 13-year-old Tyler Pittard and 47-year-old Donald Keefer were walking on the shoulder of US 19 with a group of people around 2:30 a.m. on Aug. 17, 2019, after going fishing. The Florida Highway Patrol said for some unknown reason, a white Chevy Silverado drove off the roadway and hit three pedestrians, including Pittard and Keefer, around 2:50 a.m. The driver did not stop and continued south on US 19.

The following day, Aug. 18., 2019, the driver called law enforcement to tell them why he never stopped.

“A suspect called into the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office advising that he felt he may have struck a deer last night in the area where this crash occurred,” said Trooper Kenneth Watson with Florida Highway Patrol.

The driver was 45-year-old Zachary Nelson, according to FHP.

Nelson was arrested and booked into the Manatee County Jail on Wednesday. He was charged with the following:

  • Two counts of failing to stop and remain at a crash involving death
  • One count of failing to stop and remain at a crash involving serious bodily injury
  • One count of altering, destroying, concealing, removing any record, document or physical evidence

According to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office arrest records, Nelson was released later Wednesday.


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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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