MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Tampa Bay area man asked 8 On Your Side to investigate after he was nearly killed in a crash. Troopers initially reported this was a hit-and-run involving an SUV and a moped; however, that changed after they viewed video of the incident. The victim and his family say the video is incomplete.
The crash happened on April 6th on Cortez Road and 17th Street West in Manatee County.
“I don’t ride all crazy,” said Donald Jones, “I’m too careful for that.”
Shortly after noon on that April day, Jones hopped on his moped to head to the store. It was a trip he had made countless times.
“I don’t ride far … up to Walgreens and back,” he said.
Jones woke up in the hospital.
He would spend two weeks in the intensive care unit. His brain was bleeding. His spleen was injured. He had several fractures. Right now, he is still not fully recovered.
“The question was why,” said Jones.
“I wanted to pass, I wanted to leave here.”
Jones and loved ones including Jude Andreasen say they don’t believe Jones just lost control of the moped. They believe the moped was clipped by an SUV.
8 On Your Side Investigates obtained the investigative report on this crash.
Citing a witness, the trooper initially reported that two vehicles were involved. The report states the SUV “collided” with Jones’ moped and the “driver left the scene.”
The trooper noted that there was video of the crash at a nearby car dealership.
After obtaining and viewing the video, the trooper updated his report. Troopers believe the video does not indicate that moped was hit at any point. Furthermore, they tell 8 On Your Side there was no paint transfer or debris from a potential suspect car.
Loved ones say they don’t expect debris since the moped was clipped, not hit in a high impact collision.
8 On Your Side Investigates viewed the 21-second video clip released by the Florida Highway Patrol.
Andreasen says it’s short and grainy. Additionally, she says the camera is partly blocked.
“I believe that vehicle clipped Donald before coming into view of the camera,” she said.
Loved ones believe a distracted driver is still on our roads.
“That person is dangerous,” she said, “not only did he hit somebody, he left the scene.”
After 8 On Your Side Investigates contacted troopers they assigned another investigator to the case to review the evidence once again.
According to troopers, the crash report will continue to reflect a single vehicle crash based upon the video and the scene investigation.
However, troopers will reopen this case if the public comes forward with new information.
8 On Your Side Investigates contacted the original witness in this case. He said the moped was clipped by the SUV; however, troopers say he was uncertain in official interviews.
“I want witnesses to come forward anybody who saw the accident,” said Andreasen.
8 On Your Side will continue to follow this case.