Driver runs over accident victim

Published May 10, 2007

GULFPORT - A Stetson University law student was arrested after she drove over a man lying in the street Tuesday night and then headed home instead of calling for help, police said.

Erin Rowland, 23, faces one felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily harm, Gulfport police said. Her Facebook.com page lists her as a member of the University of Florida's Class of 2006 and a member of Stetson University College of Law Class of 2009.

The accident began around 9:45 p.m. near the 6100 block of Gulfport Boulevard when a 2007 Hyundai Elantra driven by 50-year-old David Colerick struck a curb at as much as 90 mph, flipped several times, hit a power pole and landed in palm tree, police said.

Colerick was thrown into the street. Gulfport traffic homicide investigator Michael Vandenberg, said it appeared that Colerick, who had an odor of alcohol, may have been dead when he landed on the street. Colerick's wife, Cathy, 52, was in stable condition at Bayfront Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon.

As Colerick lay on the street, Rowland drove over him in a 2001 Lexus sport utility vehicle, police said. Vandenberg said she may have been trying to avoid power lines when she ran over Colerick's body.

A witness told Rowland to stop because she had run over someone, Vandenberg said. But Rowland drove to her home at the Golfview Condominiums, just across the street from Stetson and a couple of hundred yards from the accident. After 45 minutes, police spoke to her and eventually arrested her.

"If she had stopped and called police, she would most likely not face any charges, " Vandenberg said.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at araghunathan@sptimes.com or 727 893-8472.