Complex Hit and Run Accident Involved 15-year-old Driver

Young Girl in Critical Condition After Crash on SR 60

 

Last updated 9/21/2023 at 4:12pm

Courtesy Polk Sheriff's Office

The scene of the two sequential crashes left SR 60 blocked in both directions as investigators attempted to unravel the series of events that left a heroic Melbourne man dead and two local students seriously injured.

A early morning decision to allow a 15-year-old child to drive his 12-year-old-sister to school resulted in one death, left the young passenger in critical condition, and has law enforcement searching for the driver of an vehicle.abandoned at the scene.

According to Polk Sheriff's office, at about 6:11 am, a white 2020 Chevrolet Traverse driven by a 15-year old from Lake Wales was westbound on SR 60 and turned left to head south on CR 630, crossing into the path of an eastbound Dodge pickup truck.

That 2012 Dodge pickup truck was driven by 50-year old Dan Pitisci of Indian Lake Estates, who was unable to avoid the crash and struck the Traverse in the passenger side, injuring both occupants.

According to Polk Sheriff's officials, the 15-year old driver was airlifted to a hospital with minor injuries, while his 12-year old passenger was also airlifted with an injury to her head. She was later reported to be in critical condition. Pitisci was transported by ambulance to the hospital, and was treated and released.

Following the first crash, an unidentified 34-year old Melbourne man who had rushed to assist the victims after parking his vehicle. A white 2012 Honda Odyssey van traveling east on SR 60 then struck the Dodge pickup truck which was still in the road, causing it to rotate and hit the man who was attempting to help, causing blunt force trauma. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His name has been withheld pending notification of next of kin.

Witnesses reported that there had been two occupants in the Honda Odyssey, but they immediately fled on foot.

There were no details released regarding the identity of the children or the adult who presumably allowed the child to drive without supervision.

A search for the suspect(s) by PCSO deputies, K-9 unit, and Aviation has so far been unsuccessful, but remains ongoing.

The Traffic Homicide unit of the Polk County Sheriff's Office is investigating the two crashes and reported that a salvage title had been obtained for the Honda Odyssey in Arizona 2022, and it had been serviced twice this year in Arizona and New Mexico.

"We saw two completely different kinds of people on this crash-a brave, concerned man immediately trying to render aid to injured strangers, and a selfish coward who ran away," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.. "We're going to do everything we can to find the person responsible, but we could use any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem. We need to know who that white 2012 Honda Odyssey belongs to, or who drove it. You can call our Traffic Homicide detectives at 863-668-3100, or you can call anonymously to Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS and even be eligible for a $5,000 reward if your information leads to an arrest."

 

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