The fall out for drivers who get caught engaging in hit-and-run behavior after an accident has gotten a lot stronger in Florida, and for good reason. Hit and run crashes have been increasing across the entire state. In fact, there were over 80,000 hit and run accidents in the state last year, and fatal hit and run incidences increased by a whopping 23% in 2014. The numbers break down to this: � of all accidents in the state are hit and runs. That's not the only reason that authorities have begun a campaign, based around a series of informative press conferences, letting drivers know about the very real consequences of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, though. The Florida Highway Patrol has confirmed that almost half of the victims of hit and runs in the last year were pedestrians.
Sebring resident Chad DuBose can attest to that. While walking along the west shoulder of DeSoto City Road last month, he was struck by a ‘dark F-150'. DuBose knew that something was off about the approach of the vehicle, as the vehicle's dome light was on and the driver and passenger appeared to be fighting each other. The passenger suddenly grabbed the wheel, which caused the driver to lose control and nearly crash into an electric pole before hitting Dubose instead.
According to Florida Highway Patrol, Dubose had minor injuries and was taken to an area hospital after being forced to walk � of a mile and knock on three doors in a search for phone access to alert the authorities. Afterwards, the authorities sent out a media advisory in an attempt to locate the perpetrators, but Dubose has not been notified whether or not they were located. He stated that if the driver who hit him had taken the time to call the authorities or render aid, then he would have done whatever he could to ‘keep the driver from getting into major trouble'. However, given the callous and dangerous hit and run behavior that the driver exhibited, those are no longer Dubose's sentiments.
The hit-and-run was both horrifying and personal in more than one way for Dubose, because he knows that he's not alone in his experience. In 2013, another DeSoto City resident was struck by a hit and run driver along the same road, and was thrown against the same electric pole that Dubose was standing near when he was hit, before dying from his injuries.
These incidents have fueled the fire for stricter hit and run penalties throughout the state, as well as more pedestrian-friendly accommodations in Highlands County. They've also encouraged FHP Troop F spokesman Lt. Gregory S. Bueno to speak out. He has stated that drivers involved in motor vehicle accidents may flee the scene for many reasons- from being impaired, to driving with a suspended license, to having no insurance or simply being scared- but that, "None of those are good excuses. Getting into a crash is bad and unfortunate but making the conscious decision to leave makes a bad situation worse."