HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — Florida Highway Patrol troopers have arrested a man for leaving the scene of a crash that left three children seriously injured on Wednesday night on Interstate-75 in Hillsborough County.
FHP says that Billy Noel Catherwood, 63, was driving a white Ford F-150 pickup truck traveling southbound on I-75 approaching SR-674 at a high rate of speed in the center lane around 8:26 p.m.
At the same time, a Ford Explorer was traveling southbound in the same lane.
The pickup truck overtook the Ford Explorer and collided with the rear of it.
As the Ford Explorer overturned in the center grass median, two passengers, ages six and eight, were ejected from the vehicle.
Three children were injured in total and were transported to Tampa General Hospital. Despite wearing a seatbelt, the 8-year-old was ejected from the vehicle and sustained serious injuries. The 6-year-old who was ejected was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash and is in critical condition. The third child, age 10, was not wearing a seatbelt and was seriously injured in the crash.
The father of the children who was driving the Ford Explorer at the time of the crash was also transported to Tampa General Hospital with minor injuries.
Catherwood, who was driving the pickup truck, failed to stop after the crash and continued southbound on I-75.
Troopers found the pickup truck abandoned just after 10:00 p.m. on I-75 southbound near the 229 milepost.
Catherwood was arrested at 1:02 a.m. on Thursday in Manatee County. When they found him, he provided a breath sample of 0.15.
He has been charged with three counts of failure to remain at scene of crash involving property damage, two counts of failure to remain at scene of crash involving serious bodily injury, three counts of DUI resulting in property damage, two counts of DUI resulting in serious bodily injury and one count of operating a motor vehicle without a valid driver’s license.
He currently remains in the Manatee County Jail.