Undocumented man charged in Auburndale hit-and-run

Polk County Sheriff's Office

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A man with a history of driving under the influence, who has been deported from the U.S. at least one time, was charged in connection with a hit-and-run that left a woman injured in Auburndale.

On Jan. 28, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office responded to a crash on Old Dixie Highway near the intersection of Evergreen Street.

Investigators say a 2003 Ford Expedition driven by 53-year-old Armando Gallegos was traveling northbound and drifted into the southbound lanes, hitting a 2015 Hyundai Elantra driven by 18-year-old Paige Brabson of Auburndale.

Brabson suffered minor injuries and was transported to LRHMC after the crash. Deputies said Gallegos did not make any attempt to render aid or exchange information with Brabson and left the scene on foot.

Investigators later discovered the abandoned Expedition was registered to a friend of Gallegos. When questioned by deputies, the friend said he had sold him the vehicle.

When detectives met with Gallegos, he admitted to leaving the scene of the crash. He told deputies he is in the country illegally and said he ran away from the scene because he did not have a valid driver’s license, due to his immigration status.

Gallegos was arrested for leaving the scene of a crash involving injury, leaving the scene of a crash involving property damage and knowingly driving with a suspended license.

Investigators say Gallegos has a previous criminal history including a DUI and DWLSR.   In November 1996, he was deported from the U.S.

He’s being held at the Polk County Jail on a $1,500 bond for his charges and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was notified of the incident.  

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