MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A driver is at the center of an investigation accused of leaving the scene of a crash that left two people dead, including a 13-year-old boy, and another person injured.
Sunday morning the driver called law enforcement to tell them why he never stopped.
Early Saturday morning on U.S. 19 south of 49th Street E., three people walking on the side of the road were hit when a white Chevy Silverado heading south swerved off the highway.
The driver of the truck kept driving. Behind him, a 47-year-old man and a 13-year-old boy lay dead at the scene.
A 40-year-old woman was taken to the hospital with critical injuries. For more than 24 hours troopers searched for the driver, but then a big break happened for FHP.
“A suspect called into the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office advising that he felt he may have struck a deer last night in the area where this crash occurred,” said Trooper Kenneth Watson with Florida Highway Patrol.
Troopers say that suspect is Zachary Nelson.
“The owner of the vehicle is somewhat cooperating. They’re allowing us to take that vehicle. Of course, we’re going to impound it and we’re going to use it as evidence,” Watson said.
Nelson is not saying why he didn’t stop despite the front of his truck being wrecked badly. Right now investigators can’t say whether he was impaired as he drove down the well-lit area of U.S. 19.
“What we’re going to do is try to find out where exactly he was prior to the crash. That is part of the investigation,” Watson said.
Detectives are also looking to find out why 13-year-old Tyler Shane Pittard was out so late. He was a sixth-grader at King Middle School.
Nelson is now facing serious charges.
“Simply by leaving you have committed a crime. By killing two people, seriously injuring another; now it’s a felony,” Watson said.
Crisis counselors will be at King Middle School Monday morning where Pittard went to school.
The woman at Blake Medical Center is expected to be there for quite some time.
As for Zachary Nelson, troopers say he is likely to see charges of leaving a crash with death and bodily injury as well as other charges once the investigation is complete.