TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A Lakeland man has been arrested after he hit two vehicles, and killed a bicyclist while attempting to flee the scene Saturday evening.
According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Auburndale police officers responded to the Walmart on US Highway 92 just after 10 p.m. for reports of a crash. Police stated that 29-year-old Colten McMullen had struck a vehicle before fleeing the scene.
After fleeing the crash site, McMullen began traveling down US 92 in a white Chevy Silverado, when he struck another vehicle, this time within PCSO’s jurisdiction. Officials said he struck the second vehicle around two miles down the road from the first crash.
When police arrived to investigate the second crash, the victims in a Dodge Journey SUV told deputies that after the Silverado rear-ended them, it continued west and swerved right, partially off the roadway, where he then struck a male bicyclist.
Police said McMullen did not stop to render aid to the cyclist and when first responders located the cyclist, a 37-year-old man from Lakeland, he was pronounced dead. According to police, other witnesses in the area also reported the fatal hit-and-run.
PCSO reported that McMullen continued driving his truck until it became disabled. He stopped the truck around 1.5 miles west of Old Dixie Hwy. Shortly after, police arrived and took him into custody.
According to authorities, McMullen “showed several signs of impairment” and told deputies that he’d been drinking at the Apple Lounge on Recker Hwy. that evening. McMullen also told deputies the truck was his that he “wrecked” but that he wasn’t sure how many times he wrecked.
McMullen was taken into custody and charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death, a first-degree felony, and leaving the scene of a crash causing property damage.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family who are certainly grieving the loss of their loved one, and our gratitude goes out to all of the witnesses who assisted us during this investigation. Thanks to their cooperation and a swift response from law enforcement, we were able to take McMullen into custody before he could hurt anyone else,” Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement.
PCSO said further charges are pending following the results of his toxicology report. McMullen is currently being held in the Polk County Jail on no bond until a first appearance hearing.