A Florida family is grieving after a 13 year old boy was struck and killed in a hit and run while walking along a busy road.
On Saturday morning, Tyler Pittard walked along US 19 in Palmetto with family friend Donald Charles Keefer, 47, and his aunt. The group was coming back from a late-night fishing trip and were walking to a nearby gas station, WFTS ,WFLA and Bay9News report.
“He was with adults. He felt safe. They had him closest to the ditch,” Tyler’s great uncle Bruce Branch told WFTS.
But then a driver in a Chevy Silverado drove along the shoulder of the road and struck the group, killing Tyler and Keefer, and kept going, according to Florida Highway Patrol.
Tyler’s aunt, who survived, remains hospitalized with critical injuries.
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On Sunday, the driver called investigators and said he may have been involved in the crash, but he told them he thought he’d hit a deer. His vehicle matched the description of the Silverado and the car is now in possession of the Florida Highway Patrol, but the suspect has not yet been arrested.
Tyler’s death hit his family extra hard as it comes in the wake of his mother’s sudden death on the same road.
In January, Tyler’s mother, Mindy O’Neill, was struck and killed while riding a bicycle on the same stretch of US 19, his family said.
“Unbelievable. Not again,” Rolston told WFST. “This cannot be happening again.”
According to a GoFundMe page set up to help pay for Tyler’s memorial, the boy lived with his grandmother, Tammy.
“She has been through so much and needs help from our community,” the GoFundMe states. No arrests have been made as of Wednesday.