Troopers locate vehicle involved in crash that killed 15-year-old skateboarder in Manatee County, still seeking driver

Updated: Oct. 24, 2019 at 12:05 PM EDT
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MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WWSB) - A 15-year-old boy on a skateboard was killed Wednesday morning by a hit-and-run driver in Manatee County.

Troopers say it happened around 2:45am. The skateboarder, Thomas Jaren Croumbley, was attempting to cross Upper Manatee River Road near Waterlefe Boulevard when he was struck by a Toyota Tacoma.

Croumbley was killed and the driver of the vehicle fled north on Upper Manatee River Road.

“At this point in time, obviously we have the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office as well as troopers searching the area, we’re checking for any type of video surveillance that might be in the area,” said Trooper Kenn Watson, Spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers found the vehicle overnight on Thursday. It was registered to a home in Parrish and had extensive front end damage.

Florida Highway Patrol is still working to identify the driver. Anyone with information is asked to call 239-938-1800.

Troopers recovered the vehicle they say was involved in a fatal hit-and-run in Manatee County...
Troopers recovered the vehicle they say was involved in a fatal hit-and-run in Manatee County that claimed the life of a 15-year-old boy.(Source: Florida Highway Patrol)

Rachael Dickens lives down the road from the crash site. She tells us even though this road is very dangerous, this type of accident is very shocking.

“It’s very upsetting, it’s sad," said Dickens. "I have a 16-year-old daughter so it hits kind of close to home, there have been quite a few deaths on this road in the last year since the bridge opened.”

Florida Highway Patrol say charges are pending completion of their investigation, but say since it appears the skateboarder attempted to cross the road, the driver would most likely not be at fault. However, because the driver drove away there will now be more serious charges.

“Had that vehicle stayed on scene, they were not looking at any type of criminal charges,” said Watson. “Now that they have left the scene of a crash involving death they’re looking at a felony.”

This accident closed the Fort Hamer Bridge in both directions for some time Wednesday morning and later resulted in a detour around Upper Manatee River Road. Both the bridge and Upper Manatee River Road have since re-opened.

Please note: Florida Highway Patrol originally identified the victim as a 21-year-old man. Troopers have since corrected their original report to clarify the victim is 15-years-old.

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