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5 arrested in Pasco fatal hit-and-run after allegedly threatening witnesses, removing evidence

Posted at 3:48 PM, Jun 13, 2018

PASCO COUNTY, Fla. — Five people have been arrested in connection with a fatal hit-and-run in Pasco County after officials discovered death threats were made towards witnesses and evidence was removed to cover tracks.

29-year-old Christopher Ryan was killed in the crash last month in Hudson.

The initial crime took place on May 12, when a car was traveling northbound on Bruin Dr. south of SR-52. The driver hit Ryan, who was killed at the scene. The driver left the scene and went home where he and the vehicle were located after the crash.

Last week, five arrests were made resulting in 11 felonies related to the crash.

"From what I heard, they were trying to cover it up by saying he hit a deer which is nonsense. My brother was a large man, over 6'5 and over 200 pounds," said Steven Ryan, the victim's older brother. 

State troopers discovered during the investigation that death threats were made to the witnesses and that multiple suspects participated in trying to remove blood, tissue and other evidence from the vehicle before law enforcement arrived.

  • Austin Payne, the driver, was charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death, tampering with evidence, false info to law enforcement officer, tampering with a witness by threat/intimidation.
  • Patricia Flynn was charged with accessory after the fact, false information to law enforcement, tampering with physical evidence.
  • Lisa Payne was charged with tampering with a witness.
  • Guido Tritto was charged with tampering with a witness.
  • Gabriell Payne was charged with violation of probation and tampering with evidence.

According to court documents, the suspect's mother and step-father threatened someone close to the family for cooperating with law enforcement. 

"I don't condone what they did and it's really devastating to our family. I can understand a situation like that someone would panic," said the victim's bother, Steven Ryan.