Sarasota Police Department seeking help from public as officers investigate 2 fatal hit-and-run crashes

Department says incidents were not related

The Sarasota Police Department Traffic Unit is investigating two fatal hit-and-run crashes that occurred on Friday, Jan. 27, on Fruitville Road, the agency has announced.

“Officers do not believe the two crashes are connected,” a news release said.

The first incident happened about 11:30 p.m. near the intersection of Fruitville Road and Orange Avenue, the release pointed out. The victim, a 56-year-old male who lived in Sarasota, “was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital with life-threatening injuries,” the release added.

“There were obvious signs that the man had been hit by a vehicle,” the release explained. The man died as a result of his injuries a short time after he was admitted to the hospital, the release added.

The name of the victim is being withheld under the guidelines of the state’s Marsy’s Law, which allows victims of crimes to remain anonymous.

As of the morning of Jan. 30, the release noted, police officers had been unable to locate any witnesses to the crash in which the man apparently was involved.

The second hit-and-run incident occurred about 11:50 p.m. near the intersection of Fruitville Road and Beneva Road, the release continued. Officers with the Traffic Unit who responded to reports of the first crash were notified of the second incident, the release pointed out.

When officers arrived at the second scene, the release said, the victim, a 64-year-old male resident of Tennessee, was found to be deceased. The name of that victim also is being withheld under the guidelines of Marsy’s Law, the release added.

Witnesses told officers that that victim was hit by a vehicle and that the driver left the scene, the release said.

In response to the Police Department’s post on its Facebook page regarding its request for witness assistance with both incidents, some members of the public questioned the statement that the incidents did not appear to be related. Several people expressed the belief that the second crash occurred as the driver was fleeing the first incident.

“There is a chance this could be completely separate,” one person wrote of the second crash. “But it does look a little weird that they were the same thing and not far apart,” the person wrote.

The Police Department responded thus: “There are things our Officers know that we’re unable to release right now but based on that, they do not believe [the incidents] are related.”

Nonetheless, one of the persons who had speculated on whether the crashes were related responded, “Those of us that have lived here all these years know that this is either a ridiculous coincidence or something more sinister.” Two hit-and-run deaths “on the same road in 20 minutes. Come on,” the man added.

The Police Department reiterated the statement that officers have details that make them believe that the crashes have no connection.

Anyone who may have been in the area of either incident or who has additional information or videos from either of these cases is asked to call the Sarasota Police Department Traffic Unit at 941-263-6822, leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS, or go online at