BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida Highway Patrol troopers have found the car suspected of hitting and killing a 15-year-old skateboarder Wednesday as he was trying to cross an intersection.
Troopers say the car is a 2012 Toyota Tacoma from Parrish, Florida.
There is still no information on who the driver of the vehicle is at this time.
The incident happened before 3 a.m. Wednesday as Thomas Croumbley was attempting to cross Upper Manatee River Road at the intersection of Waterlefe Boulevard when he was struck by the Toyota Tacoma, according to FHP officials.
Just before 3 a.m., an ambulance happened to pass by a debris field near the intersection of Upper Manatee River Road and Waterlefe Boulevard. When paramedics stopped to investigate, they found Croumbley dead and mangled on the side of the road.
His skateboard was nearby.
“I’m glad they’re the ones that found him and not someone going to school or someone walking their dog,” said FHP Trooper Kenn Watson.
“He did not have any lights, did not have a helmet, did not have a shirt on, only shorts and tennis shoes,” Watson added.
Troopers say the skateboarder was traveling northbound when he attempted to cross the street. At that moment, the truck was also traveling northbound and slammed into him before taking off.
“There is no way this driver does not know that they hit someone or something. Bottom line is they should’ve stayed on scene. With the amount of damage that vehicle sustained, they’ve got to know they hit someone,” said Watson.
From the debris, troopers could tell the vehicle was a silver Toyota Tacoma, model year 2012 to 2015.
A spokesperson with Manatee County schools confirmed Croumbley was a student at Horizons Academy in Bradenton. Grief counselors will be on campus Thursday.
Residents say traffic has spiked in this area in recent years. One local says it’s much too dangerous to skateboard here in the middle of the night.
“I don’t want to disparage anybody but that’s just looking for trouble. You know what you’re doing, you’re taking chances when you do things, that’s just really sad,” said resident Bill Humphrey.
Humphrey hopes this driver is caught. He has a message for the person:
“I don’t know how you’re living yourself. I don’t know if it’s your fault or whatever but you had to stop to see what you could do or call somebody, it’s not humane,” Humphrey said.
“We understand that people panic, we understand that sometimes you make the wrong decision in the heat of the moment, do the right thing now,” said Watson.
FHP points out this skateboarder was likely violating the right of way.
So if that driver had stopped, they probably wouldn’t have gotten a ticket. Instead, that driver is facing felony charges.
The Fort Hamer Bridge was closed for several hours after the crash but has since reopened.
If you have any information on this case, call FHP at 239-938-1800.
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