SOUTHWEST FLORIDA -- In just the last two weeks, there have been three hit and run crashes in Southwest Florida, leaving pedestrians injured or killed.
The first occurred Ferbuary 26th in Port Charlotte that left a teen bicyclist dead. Another came five days ago in Labelle, and yet another on Monday in Punta Gorda.
"She was just the life of the party. Always smiling, nothing negative. She loved everybody," says Sabrina Bouie, friend and former coworker of Sabrina Avrissaint, who died in a tragic hit and run crash on Interstate 75 Monday. "I was like no. No my best friend, not my doll."
Florida Highway Patrol reports they've seen a steady rise in hit and run crashes over the past few years. Last year, there were over 92,000 hit and run crashes that led to 19,000 injuries and 186 fatalities.
"It's disheartening to know that someone can injure someone to the capacity that they're deceased and still not have the accountability or responsibility to leave," said Lt. Gregory Bueno, a spokesman with the Florida Highway Patrol.
Bueno urges the public to report any hit and run accident you may witness, or if you have any information to call FHP or Crimestoppers (1-800-780-TIPS).
"It's bad to be involved in a traffic crash. We realize that. But it's survivable. The moment you make that conscious decision and leave that scene, whether it's property damage, injury, or death, you're a criminal," Bueno said.