Search continues for driver who hit, killed woman in Pasco County

- The Florida Highway Patrol is searching for a driver who hit and killed a woman in Pasco County and took off.

The crash happened Friday night around 11:30 at the intersection of State Road 54 and Madison Street in New Port Richey. Troopers say what started as a disturbance at a RaceTrac gas station, involving another driver, ended with the woman losing her life.

According to FHP, during the disturbance, a man got into his 2001 Chevy Suburban and began driving onto S.R. 54 with 35-year-old Janet Emile "halfway in/out the front passenger window." Emile fell onto the road and another SUV subsequently hit her. Both drivers kept going.

Emile later died from her injuries at the hospital.

Saturday, Troopers say the Suburban driver "surrendered himself and his vehicle to authorities regarding his role in the disturbance in the gas station parking lot." We aren't naming him because at this point, no charges have been filed. The focus now shifts to finding the driver who hit Emile.

Troopers believe the hit-and-run vehicle is a dark-colored 2013-2014 Ford Escape. It will be missing a left side wheel-well liner and will have left front or undercarriage damage.

Dan and Patricia Cheek were driving on S.R. 54 on Friday night and witnessed the crash. "We see a dark SUV catapult, actually, over something," Dan Cheek said. "I didn't know what it was. I actually thought maybe it was a garbage can at first."

When they realized it was woman who had been hit, Patricia quickly called 911. "It was hard, it was hard," Patricia Cheek said. "There's no way that they could mistake something small. It was bad. It infuriates me to know that somebody did that and they just left. They just left the poor girl to die."

"Whoever hit her knew they hit something that big, it was person, they knew that," Dan Cheek added.

Though the Cheeks don't know Emile, their hearts break for her family and they want justice for her.

"She's a human and any human would deserve that," Dan Cheek said. "Whoever did this needs to be caught. I just hope somebody out there seen something and can help find this person."

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the FHP by calling *FHP or Crime Stoppers at 800-873-TIPS.

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