FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A driver remains at large, Monday, after hitting and killing a man in Fort Myers.
A Lehigh Acres man, 31-year-old Diego Reyes-Lopez, was killed as he was walking down Ortiz Avenue just north of North Galaxy Drive. He was thrown into a drainage ditch and left to die. "That person meant something to somebody, and you just took their life," said Trish Routte, Crimestoppers Coordinator. "And you could've done something about it."
According to Routte, hit-and-runs are one of the most preventable crimes because all you have to do is stay on the scene, and you might not be charged. Routte said pulling over and calling 911 could be the difference between life and death for someone. "Accidents happen, but the minute you leave the scene, you are now a wanted criminal, you have committed a crime," she said.
Nevertheless, the number of hit-and-run crashes is rising. In 2014, there were more than 85,000 cases in Florida. The next year, that number jumped to 92,000. 186 of those cases were fatal, compared to the previous year's 175 fatal hit-and-runs.
Catching those drivers can be a challenge. That's why Routte says it's so important for witnesses to come forward. Without them, it's hard to know where to start. "It's very very difficult," she said. "That's why we ask people, if you know a hit-and-run, if you think you saw a hit-and-run or if you hear something on the news and you may have been in that area, report what you saw."
The driver who killed Reyes-Lopez was driving a black Nissan Altima, which should have damage on the front or right side. If you have any information about the crash or who was driving, call the Florida Highway Patrol, or Crimestoppers at 1(800) 780- TIPS (8477).