Undocumented man charged in Polk County hit-and-run

- A 53-year-old man living in Auburndale was arrested following a hit-and-run investigation, Polk County deputies announced Friday.

On Sunday, deputies responded to a two-vehicle crash on Old Dixie Highway near Evergreen Street in Auburndale around 6:30 p.m. Armando Gallegos was driving a 2003 Ford Expedition was traveling northbound when he drifted into the southbound lanes and hit a 2016 Hyundai Elantra driven by 18-year-old Paige Brabson of Auburndale, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office.

After the collision, investigators say Gallegos fled from the crash scene by foot. Brabson had minor injuries. 

The Expedition was registered to Gallegos' friend, who told deputies he sold the car to Gallegos, according to a media release. Detectives met wit Gallegos who admitted he was involved in the crash. He said he ran away from the scene because he didn't have a driver's license. He admitted he was in the country illegally. 

"We have a legal and moral duty to stay at the scene of a crash to provide information and render aid if needed. This is true whether or not someone is in this country legally or not," said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in statement. "We all have an obligation to follow the law. Armando Gallegos should not have been driving because of his suspended license, and more importantly, he should not have fled the scene. He's lucky he didn't cause more injury to this young woman, or to anyone else on the road."

Gallegos had a previous criminal history including DUI and driving with a suspended license on November 7, 1996 and was deported from the U.S.

He was arrested, and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was notified, deputies say.

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