Driver arrested in Clearwater hit-and-run deaths

- Clearwater police arrested a driver in connection with the hit-and-run deaths of two pedestrians in October.

Charles "Chaz" Winzenread, 45, of Carrollwood is charged with leaving the scene of an crash involving death.

Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter said video surveillance was key in solving this crime. It took police only two days to find the car involved. Within two weeks after that, they had enough evidence to put Winzenread in the driver's seat.

"He should have stopped, end of story," Slaughter said as he announced the arrest.

On Oct. 18th, Viola Flores and John Berg were enjoying a few days in Clearwater, away from their home near Chicago. As the couple crossed Memorial Causeway, they took their final steps. Winzenread allegedly hit and killed them.

Though the car was nowhere to be found, surveillance video caught a image of a silver Mercedes SUV.

Police searched a 99-mile radius, narrowing 150 similar vehicles down to one owned by Winzenread.

On October 20th, police towed the damaged vehicle from his Carrollwood home.

Pretty soon, the story started to unfold.

"We were able to learn Charles Winzenread was observed drinking what is believed to be wine on his back porch that day in the afternoon, and was later observed at the Island Way Grill in which case, he was believed to have potentially consumed more," Slaughter said.

Witnesses said they saw Winzenread step into the driver's seat minutes before the crash.

Police said he's not talking about that night. Stonefaced and silent, Winzenread walked into the Pinellas County Jail Tuesday afternoon.

"This afternoon, I was fortunate enough to be able to call the families and let them know that we made this arrest and hopefully, in some small way, provide them a little closure," Slaughter said.

Up Next:

Up Next

  • Driver arrested in Clearwater hit-and-run deaths
  • 3 Tampa hotels targeted by armed robber
  • Two people die in wrong-way crash
  • Polk teen accused in cell phone scam
  • Paraplegic determined to walk across stage at graduation
  • Eight families left homeless by Tampa townhome fire
  • Students injured after truck hits school bus in Lake Placid
  • Neighbors grab dinner after Lakeland train crash sends food flying
  • Fisherman hopes to sink ship with food to help families in need
  • Rabbi with flare lights pita menorah in Clearwater