Documents: Person of interest in hit-and-run told people he was drunk at time of crash

Polk County

Less than two weeks after McKenzie Messick was fatally struck in a hit-and-run crash near I-4 in Polk County, troopers got a big break in the case.  

According to a search warrant filed in Hillsborough County, a Plant City man told people he was drunk when he hit Messick and left the scene. 

“[Name redacted] explained her daughter was told by a friend that a Mason Dilts told friends he was the one that hit the male that was walking on the Interstate.  According to the witness, Mr. Dilts was intoxicated and fled the scene,” the paperwork says.

The Florida Highway Patrol visited a home owned by the Dilts family and located a pickup truck believed to be involved in the crash.

“Upon arrival, troopers observed a white in color Chevrolet Silverado bearing Florida tag AYNR85 in plain sight at the rear of the property.  Damage was observed on the vehicle on the right front quarter panel.  The damage to the vehicle was consistent with a vehicle striking a pedestrian.  There is also a reddish brown substance on the vehicle in the area of the right hood,” officials said in court documents.

Messick’s cousin Aaron Miller told News Channel 8 he misses his cousin. 

“His smile would light up the room.  And was full of jokes.  Full of humor,” Miller said.

On Thursday, News Channel 8 stopped by the Dilts home on Red Hawk Lane. Once we arrived, a woman jumped in an SUV and sped off. Moments later, a person appeared to sit up in the vehicle as it traveled down the road.

A Florida Highway Patrol spokesman said the investigation is ongoing and no one has been arrested.  It could be months before the case is completed, he said.

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April 24 2021 08:00 am

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