Alleged street racer who hit innocent driver claims he wasn't racing another car

Posted at 5:46 PM, Jun 07, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-08 10:03:57-04

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Police Department has not found the driver of a white Dodge Challenger that may have been involved in a street racing crash that injured an innocent driver Wednesday.

On Wednesday, police cited Michael Heiman, 23, for a number of civil violations and a misdemeanor. 

ABC Action News spoke to Heiman at his home, off camera, he told us that he was not street racing, but trying to get away from the white Challenger that police are looking for. 

Related: Street racing incident in Tampa: 1 arrested, 2 hospitalized, one driver on the run

Heiman's stepfather Ron Whitaker tells us his stepson felt threatened and tried to get away. 

We asked how Heiman feels about hitting an innocent driver, "He's ashamed," said Whitaker. "He's embarrassed, it's all over the place, he feels terrible."

A spokesperson for the police department said racing along Florida Avenue is not a known area for the illegal activity. That's because there are so many lights and intersections along Florida Avenue. 

ABC Action News found out days before the crash Heiman allegedly drove his car from the back lot of a paint shop on Florida Avenue without paying for the full bill. 

Mike King, owner of Tampa Auto Customs claims Heiman owes him more than $3,000 for a paint job. 

King tells us right before the crash he saw the bright blue car they just finished painting, "He was pumping the brakes, trying to get our attention."

After that, King says Heiman sped off before crashing. 

Heiman denies the owner's claims of not paying the rest of the bill. 

The Tampa police department confirms they responded to the auto shop on June 4 for a report of Heiman not paying, but they told King it would be a civil matter that would need to go through the court system. 

Police were not able to arrest Heiman because he is looking at civil citations and one misdemeanor charge.