Driver arrested in hit-and-run that injured man doing community service

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The Polk Sheriff’s Office arrested a man accused of running down a 74-year-old good Samaritan and leaving him for dead.

RELATED: Polk County deputies search for hit-and-run driver

Ricky Perez, 28, of  Plant City is accused of hitting Larry Schlosser on Old Lucerne Park Road a week and a half ago.

Schlosser was working on the side of the road with other members of a veterans group, based at Four Lakes Golf Club, where they all live.

“Ricky had too much to drink because, as we found out, he had been drinking for a long period of time,” said Polk Sheriff Grady Judd.

A witness called 911 after it happened.

“The car came around the corner way too fast and hit one of our guys,” said a 911 caller. “He is hurt bad.”

Working off surveillance video, detectives found the truck and interviewed Perez, who they believed to be the driver but he denied everything.

However, when they tracked down his passenger, details started to fill in.

“His passenger said, 'You need to go back. You hit a man,' and [Perez] said, 'I’m not going back,' and [Prez] fled,” said Polk Sheriff Grady Judd.

Detectives got even more evidence from text messages between Perez and his passenger.

Passenger: [They’re] looking for ur (sic) truck.

Perez:  What you mean?

Passenger:  Look at the Polk sheriff Facebook page.

Perez: Wow.

Passenger: You seen (sic) it?

Perez: Yea. That’s crazy.

Passenger: You gotta move your truck.

Perez: I already moved it.

With that, Perez was arrested. Schlosser is still hospitalized, in critical but stable condition.

"Credit goes to the eye-witnesses who were able to give great descriptions of the truck and driver, and to those who provided us tips and valuable information, because the driver clearly wasn't doing what was right,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd in a statement, “People saw something, and said something. Now we can only hope and pray that Mr. Schlosser can make a full recovery."