Florida Highway Patrol aims to decrease number of hit-and-run crashes
ORLANDO, Fla. - Jamie McWilliams will never forget the year 2002.
"No one wants to get the call that your loved one was left and run over by a vehicle and left out like last week's trash," McWilliams said.
McWilliams's 20-year-old son was killed in a hit-and-run accident, Something she says could have been prevented.
"It doesn’t become a crime until you leave. People walk out in front of people all the time, and if you hit them, it is not a crime. It becomes a crime when you leave the scene," McWilliams said.
Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) Lt. Kim Montes says hit-and-run accidents have been the cause of too many deaths and injuries over the past few years. FHP's campaign, called "stay at the scene" wants to take those numbers down.
"Some of the biggest reasons we see people leaving the scene of the crash, number one is impairment, impaired by drugs or alcohol. The second is they may not have a valid license. They were either suspended or never had a license to begin with. A third reason could be that they don't have insurance or they aren't here legally," Montes said.
Montes says people who don’t take responsibility for their actions and leave the scene can cause devastating consequences for both themselves and the families involved.
"I would say to anyone that is listening, 'If it was your grandmother, or your father, or your mother laying on that street, how would you feel if someone ran them over and left?'"
The Florida Highway Patrol wants to remind drivers of the consequences of leaving a crash is a minimum of four years in prison.