LAKELAND - A teenager was struck and killed by a driver early Sunday morning while he was walking along a county road, Polk County Sheriff deputies said.
Blake Dowdy, 16, was walking along the shoulder of County Road 540-A around 1:40 a.m. with his friends.
At that time, 29-year-old Christopher Koenig was leaving the Paddy Wagon Irish Pub in Lakeland where he and a friend had been drinking.
As Koenig was driving along CR-540, he struck the teen with his F-150 pick-up.
Dowdy was launched 87 feet into the air and fell in a drainage ditch along the roadway.
According to witnesses, the truck didn’t slow down, stop or slightly brake after the impact and sped off from the scene.
Emergency workers tried to revive the boy, but he succumbed to his injuries.
Deputies say about 40 minutes later, Koenig called Polk County Sheriff Office Emergency Communications Center and confessed to dispatchers that he hit someone with his truck while on his way home from the bar.
He also confessed to the dispatcher that he had been drinking before he got behind the wheel.
Koenig was later arrested at his house. He is facing charges of leaving the scene of a crash involving death and Driving Under the Influence. Both are felony charges.
Deputies say Koenig showed signs that he had been drinking. They drew blood samples from him that have been sent to the FDLE lab for analysis.
Sheriff Grady Judd commented on the hit and run by saying, "Christopher Koenig has taken the life of a teenaged boy because he refused to take a cab or get a ride home from the bar. Now he will have to suffer the consequences, and the Dowdy family will forever suffer from a tremendous loss. I can't stress this enough: DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE. The damage that you cause when you do is irreparable, and lasts a lifetime."
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