The Polk County Sheriff's Office arrested 37-year-old Jarvis Kendrick of Lakeland for the hit-and-run death of 74-year-old Janice Joy.
Sheriff Grady Judd said Kendrick hit Joy around 6:30 a.m. on Duff Road in north Lakeland on October 6, 2016. Kendrick drove away and left Joy on the side of the road to die.
"It was an accident," said Betty Mata, Joy's caretaker, "he should have just stopped."
Mata says Joy had Alzheimer's and had some how gotten out of her home and walked more than a mile away.
At first, she wasn't angry at the driver.
"I felt bad," she said, "I seriously was like, I wrote my friend that had told me what was going on, and I told her I would actually go and testify and tell them that this man made a mistake."
That is, until she heard new details released Tuesday.
After the accident Kendrick drove to Long Boat Key for a business meeting. He then flew to Vancouver, Canada, said Judd at a news conference.
"He crafted a deliberate scheme to cover up a hit-and-run," Judd said.
Kendrick returned to Tampa International on October 9 and deliberately crashed his Ford truck into a sign on Macintosh Road.
"He faked a crash, notified his insurance and took it in for repair."
A trooper noticed the passenger side mirror was missing and there was no evidence Kendrick tried to stop, said Judd.
After hearing these details, Mata says her perception of the suspected driver changed dramatically.
"I feel he was selfish because the choices he made," she said, "now his family is fixing to lose him as well as what I lost."
Kendrick faces a felony charge for leaving the scene of a crash involving death and tampering with evidence.
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