The number of fatal hit-and-run crashes in South Florida has been steadily rising over the past five years, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) reports.
The statewide figure went up by two on Sunday after a woman in Boynton Beach was struck and killed while crossing Congress Avenue, and a man in Davie was hit while crossing State Road 7. The drivers in both cases fled the scene of the crash.
“I know hit-and-runs continue to be a problem,” FHP spokesman Sgt. Mark Wysocky told the press. “Unfortunately they continue to go up from previous years.”
The number of hit-and-run crashes in Florida has risen from 72,000 in 2012 to 99,004 last year. Broward, Palm Beach County, and Miami-Dade have the highest incidences of hit-and-runs in the state.
Although the number of hit-and-run crashes has increased over the years, the number of fatalities has fluctuated. 160 fatalities were reported in 2012. The numbers jumped to 184 in 2014 and then fell to 179 in 2016.
FHP launched a Stay At The Scene campaign earlier this year in an attempt to encourage drivers to remain at the scene of the crash, but Wysocky said it’s still too early to tell if it was effective. Wysocky said there are a number of reasons why drivers run away from the scene. Sometimes it’s because the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. They may also be driving with a suspended license or not have insurance. In many cases, the driver is not at fault and may face little or no penalty if they remain at the scene.
The woman who was killed in Boynton Beach yesterday was identified as Naborina Palacios. She was struck by a white Hyundai Genesis on Sunday morning at the intersection of West Gateway Boulevard and North Congress Avenue. The vehicle was reportedly found later in the day in a garage near Renaissance Commons, but it is unclear if the owner was located.
The man who was killed in Davie was identified as Alfonso Velasquez Ordonez. He was reportedly hit by a red car at 11:55 p.m. as he was crossing State Road 7.
Yet another fatal hit-and-run was reported in Miami Beach earlier this month. Elia Soto was arrested for reportedly causing a hit-and-run accident that led to the death of defense attorney Naphtali Hertz Wacks.
Soto, 44, is being charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily harm and reckless driving. He was ordered held on $30,000 bond and must remain on house arrest if he manages to post bail. It is unclear if he has hired a defense counsel.
According to the arrest report, the alleged crash took place on May 30 along MacArthur Causeway. Soto was allegedly driving a rented Nissan Armada at high speeds when he crashed into a Honda Civic driven by Wacks, 57.
Wacks suffered severe injuries, including collapsed lungs, paralysis in the legs, broken ribs, and a severed spine. It is unclear if Soto was injured in the crash. He surrendered himself at Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center on June 1.