FHP's hit-and-run campaign begins Monday

It's a tragedy and a crime that Florida Highway Patrol says happens way too often. Last year alone there were more than 92,000 hit-and-run crashes across the state, resulting in 186 fatalities.

It is a felony to leave the scene of an accident and hit-and-run drivers can face jail time and heavy fines. Drivers involved in accidents are required to remain on the scene of the crash to wait for law enforcement to arrive. They must also exchange information and offer assistance to anyone who may be injured.

A timely call to 911 could mean the difference between losing or saving a life.

"I hope if anyone is ever involved in an accident and they are thinking or running they would stop, think about my son and offer assistance, even if all they are able to do is hold their hand," said Stacey Gimson, whose 17-year-old high school senior was killed in 2013.

Gimson's son, Frank Vasquez, was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while he and his high school girlfriend, Kaylee E. Baer, then 16, sat in a parked car after returning from a concert with friends. Vasquez died the next day. Baer was hospitalized with serious injuries. The driver, Matthew West, immediately fled the scene, leaving the teens' friends to try to get help.

West turned himself in the following day and is now behind bars.

"I just wish he would have stayed and not worried about himself and worried about some of the chaos that he caused," said Gimson. "Accidents happen. They do. Accidents happen all the time, but you have the responsibility as a human being to stay."

June and John Granger are hoping the driver who killed their grandchild, 11-year-old Alex Torres, will come forward.

"That's what I'm hoping and praying for, that their conscious is so guilt-ridden that they have to come forward," said June Granger.

Three months since the 5th-grader was struck and killed in the early morning hours of November 7, police are still looking for his killer.

Based on descriptions from eye witnesses and surveillance video, police believe the hit-and-run driver with in a gray or dark-colored 4-door sedan, possibly a 2005 or 2006 Nisan Altima.

Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a $3,000 reward for help locating the driver. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call 800-873-8477.

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