Child airlifted to hospital after hit-and-run in Pasco County, FHP investigating

Child airlifted to hospital after hit-and-run
Posted at 10:40 PM, May 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-14 03:16:27-04

A baby was thrown into the air, straight out of her mothers arms Friday night in Holiday. Neighbors say someone hit the mother who was being pushed in a wheel chair on the shoulder of Bonita Road. They say the driver drive off and didn’t stop.

"If you run into a problem like this, stop. You have a better chance of seeing daylight if you have some kind of empathy and stop and try to help and assist aid,” said Tara Naughton, a woman who lives nearby.

Justin Osborn was driving on his way to work when right in front of him he saw a crime we've seen too many times on the news.

“It’s one of most horrible human beings alive that could do something like that," he said.

Katharina Martinez was holding her 9-month-old daughter, as Philip Martinez pushed her wheelchair down the side of Bonita Road. Suddenly a gold Ford Expedition got too close. The side mirror hitting the father and the car striking the wheelchair. It sent mom and baby flying.

“He was speeding when he hit them and then he didn’t even stop. It’s like he didn’t see them or didn’t feel it in his SUV," said Osborn.

Naughton says it was hard for the parents to find the baby at first, but believes the weeds broke the babies fall. 

"The baby would cry real loud and then she would fall asleep right away,” said Naughton. “They say she is stable but she may have hit her head real hard, maybe a concussion."

The crash happened after dark, and Naughton says Bonita road is extremely dangerous for people walking and biking. She says people fly down the road going 60 miles per hour.

The wheelchair was left mangled but both parents ok. Paramedics airlifted the baby girl to a nearby hospital. Before help arrived the father turn to Osborn with a desperate request.

“'Somebody hit my kid. Follow that car and get his license plate.'" Osborn recounted. "So I did.”

He did it because he has his own infant and thought about the number of times his family has walked along there too.

“That could have been my kid. That could have been me on the ground getting hurt. That could have been my wife," he said.

Osborn followed the driver down a couple blocks.

“I was a little nervous but my adrenaline kicked in more than anything," he said.

But out of concern for his safety he didn’t stop to see who exited the car. But he did tell dispatch the address. ABC Action News reporter, Isabel Rosales, knocked on the alleged driver's home door to get their side of the story. But no one answered.

According to a report from the Florida Highway Patrol when investigators went to speak with the registered owner they couldn’t find him. Instead they found his wife who says she was sleeping at the time and that her husband was driving the car. Because no charges have yet been filed ABC Action News is not identifying him.

Naughton says folks walking and biking at night should have something reflective on or lights, but she says officials also need to make this road safer. 

"They want things to get better here they have to start putting money into our roads,” she said.