An Auburndale man has been arrested in a hit and run crash that left two bicyclists seriously injured in Winter Haven on Wednesday, April 25.
Cody Wheeler, 26, has been charged with two counts of leaving the scene of a crash causing serious bodily injury after he was positively identified as the driver involved in the incident.
The two victims, 30-year-old Alicia Eggersdorf and 35-year-old Steve Lampone were riding their bicycles north on Spirit Lake Road, just north of Thornhill Road, around 25 minutes after midnight on the morning of April 25th when they were both struck from behind by an unknown vehicle, according to the affidavit. Both bicycles had operational lights. There were no witnesses to the crash. Both victims had significant injuries and were transported to an area hospital.
Traffic deputies identified the vehicle involved as a 2014-2015 Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and linked it back to Cody Wheeler with the help of surveillance videos from cameras in the area.
Deputies interviewed Wheeler's girlfriend who is a co-registrant of the truck. She told deputies Cody is the only one who drives the truck and that Cody was driving the truck that night. When he got home after 12:30 a.m. he asked her to back her car out of the garage so that he could park the truck inside of it. He told her he hit something and she saw the broken front headline and damage.
Deputies showed up to Wheeler's place of employment where they interviewed him and he confessed to crashing into something on the roadway that night, but wasn't sure what he hit. He said he stopped at a nearby Publix to inspect the damage to his truck and then drove home and parked inside of his garage.
Wheeler was booked into the Polk County Jail on Monday night. His first appearance is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m.
"Here is yet another example of an irresponsible motorist, who might not have been criminally charged if he had stopped to assist these two victims and contacted law enforcement. Because he fled the scene, he is facing two serious felony charges. We are encouraged by the reports that these victims should recover, although it will be a slow and painful process" said Sheriff Grady Judd.