Pedestrian killed in hit-and-run
Authorities say a dark van or SUV struck the man as he walked along U.S. 19 on Monday north of State Road 50.
By MICHAEL KRUSE
Published October 11, 2005
WEEKI WACHEE - A local man died Monday in the muggy mid morning in the grass on the side of U.S. 19.
The man was walking just north of the Winn-Dixie shopping center at the corner of State Road 50, according to the Florida Highway Patrol, when a dark-colored van or sport utility vehicle hit him and knocked him off the shoulder and down a slight slope toward the area where the weeds and the brush get tall and thick.
The FHP identified the victim as James H. Hume, 36, of 6252 U.S. 19, Weeki Wachee. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Now authorities are looking for the vehicle that hit him. FHP spokesman Trooper Larry Coggins said it should have damage on the front-right end and down the right side. After the impact, he said, the vehicle slowed nearly to a stop, then sped off.
"Whoever is driving the vehicle had to know they hit him," Hernando County sheriff's Deputy P.L. Flinn said Monday.
It was Hernando's 18th traffic-related death this year and the first pedestrian.
The 24-year-old Spring Hill man who was hit and killed Friday night was struck in Pasco County before ending up near the corner of U.S. 41 and County Line Road. That collision was ruled an accident.
"We're appealing to the public right now," Coggins said of Monday's collision.
He asks that anybody who saw the accident or might have a lead call the FHP's Brooksville office at 1-800-500-1240. People also can call the Hernando County Crime Stoppers' anonymous tip line at (352) 797-8477.
"We want those people to contact us," Coggins said.
By 10:20 Monday morning, the man was covered with a small blue tarp across the highway from Nativity Lutheran Church.
One white Spalding sneaker with red and blue trim was in the grass maybe 30 feet away along the highway. The other was off in the opposite direction and closer to the asphalt shoulder.
The victim had been walking north along U.S. 19 when he got hit, Coggins said.
The driver of a white Chevy van saw it happen. He pulled over and started waving to other motorists.
Chad Ricketson, 21, and Monica Rodriguez, 20, boyfriend and girlfriend, live north of Weeki Wachee and had been on their way home.
The man, Ricketson said, was on his stomach when they pulled over.
But he wasn't moving.
"His chest wasn't moving, either," Rodriguez said.
He was not breathing when emergency workers got there, Deputy Flinn said. They tried to perform CPR. But they stopped after a short time.
--Michael Kruse can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 352-848-1434.
[Last modified October 11, 2005, 01:57:17]
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