ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - St. Pete police have arrested a suspect in a hit-and-run crash following a FOX 13 story that led an anonymous source to phone in a key tip.
In October, then-23-year-old Connor Bolton was hit by an SUV while on his bicycle and left to die. Now, Quinn Hessinger, 28, has been charged after police say DNA connected him to the vehicle.
Bolton was notified on Monday that the arrest had been made.
"I could tell by the knock it was probably a cop," he recalled.
Indeed, it was Ofc. Michael Jockers at his front door to tell him Hessinger had been arrested for driving the SUV that hit him head-on last October, while traveling in the bike lane on 1st Avenue North.
"I am glad he is finally being punished," said Bolton. "It was feeling pretty unfair he was seemingly going to get away with it."
Ofc. Jockers says the first break came after initial media coverage in October, when a tip led them to the damaged vehicle. Connor's DNA was on the outside, and police say they would later find owner Quinn Hessinger's DNA on the inside.
"The DNA showed it was one person," said Jockers, "and one person only."
But they still had to place Quinn in the car the night of the crash.
In January, FOX 13 interviewed Bolton about the broken bones and brain damage he'd suffered.
"If anyone has any proof or evidence that they saw something, I would encourage the police to contact the police immediately," he asked on January 23.
By the next morning, they got a tip.
"It was somebody that said they knew somebody that talked to the suspect and the suspect had told them what happened," said Jockers.
Hessinger was arrested at a St. Pete Wawa on Sunday. It's a lift for Bolton, who was injured so badly he had forgotten some childhood memories.
"I feel like a weight has lifted off my shoulders," he said. "It was weighing on me, that he was just out there."
Connor's little sister, Isabelle, sees this helping her brother's aggressive physical therapy routine.
"I think he will get a bit more hope to move on," she said. "And during physical therapy he might just have that moment of courage to work harder."
Police say that if Quinn had stayed, he would have likely faced nothing more than a few tickets for reckless driving.
Now he faces five to seven years in jail.
Records show he was freed on a $10,000 bond.