NEW PORT RICHEY (FOX 13) - A hit and run crash Tuesday afternoon in New Port Richey left one person dead and tied up traffic for more than seven hours.
The four-vehicle crash happened around 2:30 p.m. at the intersection of State Road 54 and Duck Slough Boulevard.
This situation quickly grew from a crash investigation to a suspect search when one of the people involved in the crash decided to walk away from the scene.
That man, 27-year-old Brandon Casey Windom of Tampa, was located a few hours later
Late Tuesday night, troopers identified the person killed as 17-year-old Lillia Grace Morris of Trinity.
It started when a driver in a white SUV traveling eastbound on SR-54 ran a red light, hitting a Morris' vehicle, which was turning onto SR-54 from Duck Slough Boulevard. Troopers say Morris had the green turn arrow
Two other vehicles stopped in the westbound turn lane of SR-54 were hit after the initial crash, when the SUV pushed Morris' car into them. Morris died at the scene
Angela Mowry will never forget the sound or the sight of what she witnessed.
"I heard the engine rev really fast and then I heard a big old bang," Mowry said. "And, I watched him push her, the car. Smoke everywhere. It was a sight. It was a real scary sight."
She saw one car sandwiched between two others, a pile of crushed glass and metal.
"I just see everybody jumping out of cars," Mowry recalled.
One of the men from inside the white SUV got out. But then, troopers say he walked away.
A driver's dash cam caught a clear picture of the man, later identified Windom. All the while, the manager of a nearby Jersey Mike's was trying to stop him.
"He said he needed to go somewhere, that he couldn't be here," said Breanna Hackney, a Jersey Mikes employee. "And, she said, no you need to stay here, this is serious, someone just passed away. He apparently just pushed past her and continued to run away."
A few hours later, investigators said they detained Windom. They said there were three people inside that white SUV. Investigators are trying to figure out whether it was Windom driving or another occupant, Roy Rimmer. At this point, no charges have been filed.
"Just slow down, slow down," Mowry said.
People who live and work on this road say crashes are happening far too often.
"We hear the sirens all the time," said Jon Russell. "We hear helicopters. It's kind of a common occurrence, unfortunately."
This one, especially, drives home of the dangers of speed and what's really at stake. In this case, it was the life of 17-year-old Lillia Morris.
"It was just horrific and my heart goes out to everyone that is involved in the crash and their families," Hackney said.