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Florida Highway Patrol press conference of "Importance of staying at the scene"

Importance of staying at a scene of an accident
Posted at 6:29 AM, Feb 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-19 09:47:29-05

FORT MYERS, Fla -- In Southwest Florida, there has never been a more timely opportunity to talk about the importance of staying at the scene in the event of a crash. That's why first responders plan to hold a "Stay at the Scene" press conference on Wednesday.

WATCH LIVE PRESS CONFERENCE HERE

According to Florida Highway Patrol and the Lee County Sheriff's Office, the alarming number of hit-and-runs is a statewide issue. In fact, last year alone there were more than 105,000 hit-and-runs in Florida.

On Tuesday, one of those cases come to a close in Lee County with the sentencing of Logan Hetherington. That hit-and-run crash claimed the life of 8-year-old Layla Aiken at her bus stop last March.

Many more cases like this are likely to come to your mind. That's because Lee County, for example, now has the eighth highest total of hit-and-runs in Florida. Even more alarming is the fact that nearly 25% of crashes in our state involve hit-and-run.

2019 is also when we saw 12-year-old Alana Tamplin killed in a hit-and-run. The driver in that case took off but then returned to the scene.

And this year, we've already covered a number of hit-and-runs including those that killed victims like Allana Staiano and Austin Manke to name a few.

"This could be any one of our family members. This is why as a driver you have to be responsible and you most certainly have to be accountable if you're involved in an accident you have to remain on scene,” said Lt. Greg Bueno with the Florida Highway Patrol.

The press conference also comes during national hit and run awareness month. Not only is it the law to stop and stay at the scene, but it could be the difference between saving a life.

There can be serious consequences for drivers who do not stay at the scene.

Drivers who leave the scene of a crash involving death face first-degree felony charges and up to 30-years in prison. For hit-and-run crashes involving injury, it can be considered a second or third-degree felony and you can face up to 5-years in prison. Even if the crash only involves property damage, once caught drivers can face misdemeanor charges and up to 60-days in prison.

Wednesday's press conference is planned for 10 a.m.