LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA) – Polk County deputies have made an arrest in a Friday night hit-and-run crash that sent an 11-year-old Lakeland girl to the hospital with serious injuries.
Late Friday night, 33-year-old William Ray Hull of Lakeland was arrested. Deputies say the arrest stemmed in part from tips sent in by citizens who saw the news and social media posts about the hit-and-run.
The crash happened around 4 p.m. Friday. Deputies say 11-year-old Trinity Hamilton was walking on the grass shoulder of Idlewild Street near Leslie Drive, heading home after being dropped off by the bus.
“Getting out of school with not a care in the world,” neighbor Taquia Mcinnie said. “She didn’t deserve that. Not to be hit and someone just take off on her.”
Witnesses say they saw a white pickup truck hit the girl from behind, sending her into the ditch on the side of the road. Witnesses then saw the truck drive away.
“I don’t know, I just started screaming, panicking and I just started crying too. I have two daughters too … So it was really awful to see that,” Suleyka Garcia Alameda, a witness, told News Channel 8. “So I just kept going and tried to get his tag but at least I tried to identify the truck the most that I can. ”
“I saw my neighbor, running up the side screaming ‘Hey! Hey! Hey! Stop that guy. stop that guy!'” said Mcinnie.
“I don’t know why he didn’t stop. Really, I don’t know why. If you hit something, even a trash can or something, you stop to see what you hit. And he just kept going. So it was really shocking,” said Garcia Alameda.
The witnesses tended to the child until paramedics arrived to take her to St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Tampa, where she’s being treated for serious injuries. She is now with her parents and is expected to be okay, deputies said.
Investigators say they found a side mirror and several pieces of plastic from a vehicle at the scene of the crash. They also reviewed security video from a home nearby. A tip eventually led them to a truck that matched the description of the one involved in the crash.
Just before 9 p.m., deputies made contact with Hull. During an interview, Hull told deputies he was the driver of the truck and admitted he was involved in a crash on Idlewild Street. Deputies say he also admitted he hit something but didn’t stop to see what it was.
Hull was charged with leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury.
He’s also charged with tampering with evidence, because deputies say he tried to conceal his truck and the damage from witnesses and law enforcement in a fenced backyard of his mother’s home.
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