Note: The video in this story is from before the suspect was arrested.
FORT MEADE, Fla. (WFLA) — Polk County deputies arrested a man who they said killed a 9-year-old in a hit-and-run crash Friday afternoon.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said at about 5 p.m., deputies responded to a crash on Hutchins Road east of Kristen Loop East in Fort Meade.
According to investigators, video evidence showed a Chevrolet Silverado striking Andres Martinez as he was riding a bicycle out of his friend’s driveway.
The 9-year-old was knocked 50 feet away by the impact. However, deputies said the driver, 55-year-old Gilbert Almaguer of Bowling Green, did not stop after the crash.
The child was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders.
“It is beyond comprehension that anyone could hit another person with their vehicle and not stop to render aid, to help, to report what happened,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “But that’s even a thousand times, a thousand times worse when it’s a child. A little 9-year-old boy.”
Deputies said at 10:31 p.m., Almaguer called the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office and said he was a passenger in the Silverado that killed Andres.
A Polk County deputy spoke with Almaguer at the Bowling Green Police Department, where he claimed that a man named Hector Martinez was the one who was driving the truck.
However, when authorities took him back to his home on Avon Street, he admitted to driving the truck and killing Andres, the sheriff’s office said.
“He stated that he was sorry and just got scared,” a probable cause affidavit stated. “He explained that the kid came out of nowhere and he did not mean to hit him. Almaguer confirmed that no one else was in the vehicle with him and he was the sole occupant operator at the time the crash occurred.”
According to deputies, Almaguer called the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office when he saw a post on Facebook saying that a child died.
Almaguer was booked in the Hardee County Jail and was to be transferred to Polk County at a later date. He faces a charge of leaving the scene of a crash on public or private property
without rendering aid (involving death).