Polk detectives hope side-view mirror leads them to hit-and-run driver

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – The condition of a 49-year old victim hit by a car on his walk home Saturday evening is not improving, according to Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.

“We don’t expect the victim to survive,” he said. “We pray that he does. But we really pray that somebody helps us solve this case because it is horrific.”

The man was taking a short walk home from a bar on State Road 17 near Beacon Avenue in Lake Wales when he was hit by the car. The driver of the car drove off, deputies say.

Neighbors and passersby stopped to help.

“I was on my way to work. Somebody was flagging me down. Looked like somebody got hit by a car or something so I got out. There was a guy laying on the ground, got hit by a car,” said a 911 caller to dispatch.

The sheriff said the victim had a few drinks and was walking along the white line on the side of the road.

“That’s no reason to be run over and left for dead and quite frankly it’s upsetting that we as human beings could treat another human being like that,” he said.

Courtesy Polk County Sheriff’s Office

Deputies found a side-view mirror at the scene. They have used it to identify the vehicle they believe crashed into the victim: a 1994 – 1997 green Honda Accord.

They are looking for the public’s help to find the driver.

“If you pulled up at a stoplight and you look over and the right-hand mirror, the passenger-side mirror is missing, please call us with a tag number,” suggested Sheriff Judd.

Merinda Smith lives in the area and urges her neighbors not to walk along the road.

“Sad. Sad for him but the road is dangerous though, day or night, it’s dangerous,” she said. “Cars be speeding, they be flying.”

Several people, including Smith, told News Channel 8’s Staci DaSilva they need sidewalks due to a popular store nearby.

8 On Your Side reached out to the Florida Department of Transportation office in Bartow to ask about putting in a sidewalk. A spokesperson said, due to the holidays, he will respond on Thursday.

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