NEW PORT RICHEY, FL- Tbo.com reports that a woman in a wheelchair, her husband, and the couple’s 9-month old infant were struck by what appeared to be a Lincoln Navigator while they were on the shoulder of Bonita Road at about 10 p.m. on Friday, May 11, 2018.
Witnesses of the accident followed the vehicle to a residence in Holiday and were able to provide a description of the vehicle and the license plate number to the police. However, state troopers said that the vehicle was reported as missing. Last Tuesday, the SUV was located in the parking lot of a restaurant in Tarpon Springs where it had apparently been abandoned.
The mother, Katharina Martinez, 25, and father, Philip Martinez, 45 were not injured. Their infant sustained minor injuries and was airlifted to Tampa for treatment at St. Joseph’s Hospital.
State troopers still do not know the identity of the driver, who was described as a man around 55 to 60 years of age.
Florida has seen about the same number of hit-and-run accidents each year. About one-quarter of all car crashes in the state involve a driver who leaves the scene. Most of these accidents only involve property damage, but others involve fatalities. Florida legislators increased the penalties for hit-and-run drivers in 2014. The law, which is named the Aaron Cohen Life Protection Act, is named after a cyclist who was struck and killed by a drunk driver in 2012. The new law mandates that drivers who leave the scene of a crash involving a fatality will be faced with a minimum of 4 years in prison.