LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies believe they’ve caught the mystery driver who hit and killed a 74-year-old woman and left her to die on a Polk County road.
37-year-old Jarvis Kendrick of Lakeland was arrested and charged with one count of Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Death and one count of Tampering with Evidence in connection with the death of Janice Joy, who was hit and killed on the morning of October 6, 2016.
Investigators say Joy, of Lakeland, was struck and killed by a hit and run driver at around 6:30 a.m. on Duff Road west of Sheffield Drive in north Lakeland.
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said that Kendrick would not have faced charges if he would have called 911 after hitting Joy. But instead, Judd said Kendrick left the scene and then tried to cover up damage to his truck by staging another accident.
“Desperate people do desperate things,” said Judd (see Grady Judd’s entire news conference in accompanying video).
Kendrick is employed at MidFlorida Credit Union. The company issued the following statement on Tuesday-
“We are just learning the details of Jarvis Kendrick’s arrest along with the rest of the community. Jarvis Kendrick is the regional manager for the West Polk market. At this point, there has been no decision made regarding his continued employment.”
Joy loved to dance. She had Alzheimer’s and needed help. Betty Mata was her caretaker for the past 15 years.
The day of the crash Joy somehow got out of her home, despite being locked in.
Mata said it has been agonizing waiting for answers. “Who would leave someone to die on the side of the road, alone?” she asked.
Mata felt sorry for Kendrick because he has a family. Then she heard what he did to cover up what happened.
“I was feeling sorry for him but after all of the things that he did to cover it up. Now, I hope justice is done. How does this good citizen who has done so much for other people leave a 74-year-old woman to die alone on the road?” Mata asked.
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