POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A father is seeking justice after a hit-and-run driver claimed the life of his 14-year-old daughter in Lakeland.

Courtesy: Anthony Cogswell

“Me and her, we were like best friends,” said Anthony Cogswell of Lakeland. “A part of me died with her.”

His daughter, Shana Blair, was artistic and a straight-A student, he said.

“She didn’t know what she wanted to be. I told her she could be anything she wanted to be,” she said.

On the Fourth of July, Blair spent the evening with her best friend.

“I was just letting them be teenage girls, have fun,” he said.

Blair was walking home with her friend on US 92, west of Clark Road, just after 10 p.m., when a truck hit them.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the driver of the truck never stopped.

Blair’s friend was not seriously hurt and called 911. Blair was taken by helicopter to a Tampa hospital.

“I got to the hospital and I did see the chopper coming in and reality set in,” said Cogswell.

She died at the hospital on Tuesday after suffering many broken bones and a brain injury.

“We need your help. Just think – what if it was your child that was left on the side of the road for dead?” said Sheriff Grady Judd.

Image of truck captured after hit-and-run incident
Source: Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Sheriff Judd described the truck as a 1997-2003 Ford F150, white or light-colored, with a broken window on the passenger side.

The sheriff’s office has also noted possible damage to the grill and possible additional front-end damage.

“That’s a sorry, sorry, sorry person. If they’re not man enough or woman enough to admit what they did was wrong, we need a neighbor or a friend to tell us,” Judd said.

Cogswell says his daughter would have forgiven the driver. He now wants the chance to try.

“What would give me closure is, I want to talk to that person. I just want to know and most importantly, I just want to know that they really do care about what happened and they’re truly sorry,” he said.

If you have any information that could help in identifying or locating the truck and/or the driver, please call the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at 863-298-6200.

If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Heartland Crime Stoppers:

  • Call 1-800-226 TIPS (8477)
  • From your cell phone, dial **TIPS
  • Or visit the website www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com and click on “Submit A Tip,” * Or download the free “P3tips” app on your smartphone or tablet.

You will always remain anonymous when you send a tip through Crime Stoppers and you are eligible for a cash reward if your information leads to an arrest.