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Alarming number of hit and runs increase throughout Fort Myers

Hit and run crashes increase
Posted at 6:25 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 18:25:06-05

FORT MYERS, FLA — A Fort Myers business is back open again after an abrupt shutdown over the weekend because of a hit and run.
The driver of the truck hit water equipment on the corner of Twisted Vine Bistro and Barrel Room which shut off all the water - forcing the restaurant to close and lose thousands of dollars of business.

Police believe they have the suspect for that incident. This is what made us take a closer look into how many hit and runs are happening throughout our area.

Fort Myers Police say the number of hit and runs have gone up significantly by 34% compared to previous years.

Sergeant Kristi Neroni with the Fort Myers Police Department says, “This year alone we’ve worked almost 800 hit and run crashes involving either property damage, personal injury or pedestrians, bicyclists where they ultimately died as a result of the crash.”

Sergeant Neroni adds there’s several reasons why people typically take off after an accident. One may be the person is impaired, another the driver may not have car insurance or a valid drivers license.

According to police:
During 2021, Officers investigated over 788 hit and run crashes which included property damage, injuries and/or fatalities. 463 involved property damage only, 121 involved injuries and 4 were fatalities.

During 2020, Officers investigated over 588 hit and run crashes which included property damage, injuries and/or fatalities. 497 involved property damage only, 91 involved injuries and 0 were fatalities.

During 2019, Officers investigated over 651 hit and run crashes which included property damage, injuries and/or fatalities. 555 involved property damage only. 94 involved injuries and 2 were fatalities.

“People are not taking responsibility for their actions and they’re not doing what is right in the sense of just providing first aid or getting help to people that are injured on the road and that they’re able to just hit a person and leave them knowing that they’re possibly dying in the roadway and that’s just some thing that is alarming to me,” Sergeant Neroni.

Police say when a driver stays on scene it changes the amount of charges that someone could potentially face. Leaving a crash could turn what may have been a misdemeanor into a felony.

“Most of the time if they do talk to us after we end up finding the person it’s fear, they believe that what they did was a lot worse than what it usually ends up being,” Sergeant Neroni.

From seeing and investigating these hit and runs first hand as a Traffic Unit Supervisor, Sergeant Neroni’s concerns going forward...“It scares me as an officer and as a mother and as a sergeant is that the numbers are only on a steady increase.”

Police say if you are involved in a crash always remain on scene and call 911.