The Florida Highway Patrol is seeing an increase in hit and run crashes in the state. In 2011, there were 65,516 hit and runs. Last year, that number rose to 69,994.
To help combat the problem, officials are launching a Hit & Run Campaign trying to educate motorists on the responsibilities of being in an accident.
FHP says when you're involved in a vehicle accident, remember the word CRASH:
- Call law enforcement;
- Remain calm;
- Attain vehicle, witness, and driver information;
- Sketch the scene/take photos; and
- Help any injured.
Sergeant Steve Gaskins said car crashes don't have to turn from bad to worse.
"Hit and run traffic crashes are completely preventable because you don't need to leave the scene. Please stop, render aid, and help your fellow citizens out on the side of the road," he said.
Gaskins said the perpetrator is found in roughly half of all hit and run cases.
On the flip side of that number is the case of Carnegia Holmes. She was killed in a hit and run crash in 1998 and her case is still open. Her sister Ratonia Thompson said it has been 15 years later and there is no closure.
"It has really been a devastating time. My sister raised me after my mom passed and I was 15 at the time, and myself her kids- her kids were just babies, her youngest was 3, and it has really been hard for us," she said.
If the crash results in property damage, leaving the scene could mean a second degree misdemeanor with 60 days in jail and/or a $500 fine.
When there are injuries involved, leaving the scene results in a third degree felony with a maximum pnalty of 5 years in a correctional facility and/or a $5,000 fine.
If you leave the scene and the crash involves a death- that's a first degree felony with up to 30 years in a correctional facility and/or a $10,000 fine.