PINELLAS PARK, Fla. — Pinellas Park Police said on Monday morning the driver involved in a deadly hit-and-run on October 6 is now in custody.
Police identified the driver as 26-year-old Derek Dious, of Plant City. He is charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death.
According to the department, investigators issued a warrant for Dious on Friday and he turned himself in at night, around 8 p.m.
ORIGINAL STORY — Pinellas Park police are looking for the driver involved in a deadly hit-and-run Wednesday night.
Police said around 8 p.m., officers responded to the intersection of U.S. Highway 19 and Mainlands Blvd. for a crash with a vehicle and pedestrian. The pedestrian, later identified as Gary Boisvert, 63, was taken to a local hospital but died from his injuries.
Police said Boisvert was crossing against the "do not walk" signal in his wheelchair at the time of the crash. They said the suspect vehicle was traveling south on U.S. 19 and increased speed as it approached a yellow light before it crashed into Boisvert.
The vehicle that fled the area was described as a white compact sedan or hatchback. The suspect vehicle is believed to have sustained heavy front-end damage from the crash, police said.
Suzanne Surles, Boisvert's sister, tells ABC Action News reporter Sarah Hollenbeck that her younger brother was loving, intelligent and funny. Surles said he crossed the intersection of US-19 and Mainlands in his wheelchair often.
Surles says her brother spent the past 7 years in a wheelchair after having his left leg amputated. She said his goal was to walk again. It's a goal Boisvert's family now says he’ll never reach because of a 'heartless' hit and run driver.
“The hope is anybody would listen to their conscious. That they would ultimately not be able to live with the fact that they were involved in a crash that potentially injured somebody and they come forward and make it known that they were involved," explained John Shea of the Pinellas Park Police Department.
Police said this is the second hit-and-run crash in Pinellas Park in the last two weeks. The second crash happened Sunday, October 3 around 7 a.m. at 34th St N and 62nd Ave. The female pedestrian in that crash was crossing in the crosswalk at the intersection when she was hit. She sustained life-threatening injuries. The vehicle in that crash is described as a gold car, possibly a Toyota.
Police are asking the community to assist with identifying and locating the vehicles and drivers involved in both cases in Pinellas Park.
If you have any information for either crash, you can contact Pinellas County Crime Stoppers (1-800-973-TIPS) or the Pinellas Park Police Department (727-369-7864).
Hit and run crashes are a large problem in Florida. The Florida Highway Patrol says hit and run crashes happen 25 to 40 times every single day in Florida.
Several agencies in Pinellas County are launching high visibility enforcement campaigns to target and fix bad behavior by drivers and pedestrians and give out lights and reflectors.
Detectives are also sending a strong message to anyone who leaves the scene of a crash: we will find you…and charge you.
“Leaving the scene of a crash especially a fatality is a serious felony and if they had stayed on the scene and talked with investigators it could be a totally different outcome for them then what they are facing now," Sgt. Michael Schade of the St. Petersburg Police Department added.