Investigators search for driver after deadly hit-and-run

Polk Co. volunteer killed in hit-and-run accident
Posted at 10:36 PM, Jul 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-25 18:05:03-04

Polk County deputies are searching for the driver who hit and killed a bicyclist Monday morning and then took off.

Investigators say 66-year-old Charles Hudson, Jr. was riding his bike along Kokomo Rd. in Haines City when a driver swerved, hitting and killing Hudson without stopping.

“He was not in the roadway,” said Carrie Horstman, spokesperson for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office. “He was not in harms way, this guy swerved to hit him.”

They found the car further down the road off Detour Rd. in Lake Hamilton ditched after the driver took off on foot.

Deputies say the owner of the car told them 26-year-old Darrell Lavel Coleman, Jr. was behind the wheel.




They continued their search throughout the day, thinking Coleman, Jr. may still be in Lake Hamilton where he is originally from. 

Polk County deputies say that Coleman abandoned the car he was driving and fled on foot.

The case proved personal for many on the PSCO team. 

Hudson served as a volunteer for the county’s Citizen's Assisted Patrol volunteer program, serving the most patrol hours in his Solivita community with nearly four hours a day.

“It’s going to be a very big loss for us,” said Lynn Scherk, who served with Hudson for CAP, “very big loss.”

He and others around the community plan to hold a memorial service for Hudson soon.

“It’s very hard because you’re losing a very large part of your organization,” he said. “Maybe one person, but he did so much for the organization that it’s very hard to replace him, very hard.” 

Coleman currently has three Polk County warrants for his arrest.

  • Leaving the scene of a crash involving death;
  • Driving with a revoked license involving death;
  • Trespassing

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd says that Coleman is better known for his nickname "Smooth".



If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Coleman is asked to contact PCSO at 863-298-6200.