News

Actions

Numbers reveal group most at risk for deadly hit-and-runs

Latest hit-and-run adds to statewide deadly trend
Posted: 7:01 PM, Nov 04, 2016
Updated: 2016-11-04 19:01:45-04
Hit-and-run crashes and deaths on the rise
Hit-and-run crashes and deaths on the rise

A woman is desperate to find the driver responsible for hitting and killing her husband early Monday morning while he was walking along State Road 64 in Manatee County. 

Marlena Johnson said her husband, Clarence, was staying at a beach rental while she and the couple's three children were away visiting family. 

Clarence Johnson's family doesn't know exactly where he was headed, but his vehicle ran out of gas. They believe he was walking along SR 64 in search of a gas station.

That's when a driver in a pickup truck hit Clarence Johnson then took off. Clarence Johnson died of his injuries.

"I cannot imagine how anybody can live with this kind of guilt," Marlena Johnson said. 

The Florida Highway Patrol is searching for the driver of a 2011 to 2016 Ford F Super Duty truck with front-end center damage. 

Several high profile hit and run crash have occurred in recent weeks. 

On Oct. 29 a Tampa woman was killed and a Polk County sheriff's deputy was seriously injured after a driver hit them while they were standing in a grass median on State Road 60 in Lake Wales. 

An anonymous tip to Heartland Crime Stoppers led Polk deputies to a 71-year-old suspect in Lake Wales, who told investigators he was responsible for accident. 

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles,  hit-and-run accidents have gone up 7% from 2013 to 2015. 

More than 92,000 hit-and-run accidents were reported last year. One in four involved pedestrians. 

In Hillsborough County, hit-and-run accidents have increased by more than 400 so far this year over last year. 

Eleven people have died in hit-and- run accidents so far this year. 

Marlena Johnson hopes she can get answers before explaining her husband's death to their children. 

"They one day, I'm sure, are going to want to know what happened to their father," she said. 

She has a plea for the driver. 

"Maybe you didn't see him," she said, "just please help us." 

The Florida Highway Patrol is asking anyone with information about the incident that led to Clarence Johnson's death to contact the agency at (941) 751-8350.