Pinellas deputy killed in hit-and-run crash; suspect in custody
Construction worker fled after hitting deputy on traffic duty, authorities say
ST. PETERSURG, Fla. (WWSB) - A road construction worker is in custody after he allegedly hit and killed a Pinellas County sheriff’s deputy with a front loader Thursday night, authorities said.
The deputy, Michael Hartwick was killed while he was on traffic duty shortly after 11 p.m. on I-275 just south of the Howard Frankland Bridge.
The sheriff’s office confirmed that 35-year-old Juan Ariel Molina-Salles was arrested this morning after fleeing from the scene after the incident involving death. He is being held on $100,000 bond.
At a news conference Friday morning, Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said Molina-Salles ran from the construction site into a wooded area after giving his hard hat and safety vest to another worker.
After the incident, traffic on the interstate in both directions was shut down for hours.
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