TAMPA BAY - Tampa Bay area law enforcement agencies are investigating a number of accidents that have killed, or seriously injured, pedestrians this week. Two of the crashes involve drivers that left the scene of the accident. In both cases, citizen tips lead to arrests.
The most recent accident occurred just before 5:30 AM Thursday. A man was crossing 49th Street North, near 48th Avenue, in the St. Petersburg/Lealman area, when he was hit by a car. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, the driver, Floyd W. Clutter, 60, of St. Petersburg, hit the brakes to avoid hitting the man, but wasn't able to stop in time. The pedestrian, whose name hasn't been released yet pending next-of-kin notification, died at Northside Hospital.
At approximately 6:45 AM Thursday, a pedestrian was hit and killed on US-41 near Nundy Avenue in Gibsonton. According to FHP, the driver, Jose Martin Flores-Lainez, 23, of Ruskin, didn't see the person, who was not using a crosswalk, crossing the road. The pedestrian's identity hasn't been released yet, also pending next-of-kin notification.
Just after midnight on Thursday, Jonathan Redding, 29, of Brandon, was struck while riding a skateboard in the bike lane on Providence Road near Providence Ridge. The driver who hit Redding left the scene. Redding was taken to Tampa General Hospital with life-threatening injuries. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said shortly following the accident, a citizen reported seeing a driver attempting to cover damage to his vehicle's windshield. The citizen provided a description of the driver, and a deputy later spotted him riding a bike on Providence Ridge. The driver, identified as Ronald Cineas, 29, of Brandon, admitted to driving the vehicle and striking something on Providence Road. Cineas was taken into custody and charged with leaving the scene of a crash with serious injury and driving with a suspended license.
Wednesday evening, 36-year-old Kine C. Stegavik was attempting to cross Busch Boulevard near Busch Gardens when she was hit by a Nissan Altima. The driver of a Ford Focus tried to avoid the accident, but also hit Stegavik. Stegavik died at the scene.
Also Wednesday, Tampa Police arrested Fernando Lazaro Lahera Chibas, 18, and charged him in the death of a pedestrian that occurred on Saturday, December 1. Omar James Jeter was crossing Hillsborough Avenue near Lincoln Avenue (not in a crosswalk) when he was killed. An anonymous tip led investigators to identify Chibas as the driver. Tampa Police say during his interview, Chibas admitted to hitting Jeter and leaving the scene because he was scared. The TPD says if Chibas had stayed at the scene of the accident, and wasn't impaired, he would not have been charged with a crime.
Tampa Police did not charge the driver who hit a pedestrian Monday evening on MacDill Avenue near Kennedy Boulevard. According to TPD, the driver was unable to avoid the crash. The pedestrian will be OK.
On Sunday, 8-year-old Elijah Crayton was fatally injured when he was hit by a car near his house. The Largo Police Department says Crayton was sitting on a skateboard when he was hit.
7,039 accidents involving pedestrians were reported in Florida in 201. 497 pedestrians died. There were 5,013 bicycle crashes with 120 deaths in 2011.
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