CLEARWATER, Fla. - Police in Clearwater say they’ve identified the driver who hit a skateboarder early Thursday morning, then left him to die in the street.
Investigators say it was around 2 a.m. when they received a call about a pedestrian hit in the area of Keene and Gulf to Bay boulevards. It turned out that Tyler Deremo was skateboarding within the lanes of traffic when he was hit by a red Toyota Sienna minivan.
Deremo, 26, was taken to Morton Plant Hospital, but died within minutes of arriving.
Witnesses say the driver never hit the brakes.
"I can’t imagine anyone who would strike a human being and leave that person to die in the middle of the roadway," police spokesman Rob Shaw offered. "It’s just inexcusable and criminal behavior."
Witnesses were able to spot the license plate as the van sped off. A few minutes later, police found the van ditched at the Pinellas County school bus compound off Cleveland Street, but investigators quickly figured out the Sienna’s owner was not the driver at the time of the crash.
Clearwater police shared this photo of the damaged vehicle.
"So we got the car, it had significant front-end damage, but what we didn’t have was the driver," Shaw continued.
Now, police say that driver was Sergio Mendoza-Mesquite and they are asking the public for help finding the 32-year-old.
They say anyone with information should call Clearwater police at 727-562-4242.