ORLANDO, Fla. - Authorities are asking for the public's help locating the vehicle that they say hit and killed a teenager from South Florida who was reported missing.
Florida Highway Patrol troopers said the driver who struck and killed 19-year-old Anthony Mejias is still on the run. There was no sign of any damage left at the scene near Orange Avenue at Prince Street in Orlando. Investigators are now gathering and combing through surveillance camera footage recorded by businesses in the area around 2:30 a.m. on the morning of Friday, April 2.
Barb Bergin with Crimeline tells FOX 35 News that hit-and-run deaths are out of control in Central Florida.
"As good citizens, we need help," she said. "We have got to have our citizens help us locate the vehicles involved and the people driving those vehicles. To leave somebody on the side of the road like that, it's unimaginable."
Bergin says they have taken several tips in the case, but they need more.
"Anybody who has a car that all of a sudden has unexplained damage. The windshield looks like it's crushed in, the side mirrors are missing and they're hiding or concealing the car. That's usually one of the first flags if you will that will tell you that the car has probably been involved in a hit-and-run."
The teenager's mother, Vivan Blanco, had been desperately searching for her son Anthony Mejias.
"He’s nowhere to be found," she told FOX 35's Valerie Boey on Tuesday.
Troopers said Mejias was located in the roadway and transported to a nearby hospital.
"We did not know that this person who was unidentified the night of the crash was somebody’s son, that they were frantically looking for a missing person," explained FHP Lt Kim Montes.
Blanco said her son took a bus on Thursday, from Tallahassee to Fort Lauderdale to spend Easter weekend with them. There was a 15-minute layover at a bus station in Orlando, but during that time, she said he was seen on surveillance camera sleeping and without his phone or skateboard. She said she was told he could not get on his next bus, because he needed an ID which was with his phone that was left on the bus.
Blanco believes Anthony tried looking for another ride. Lt. Montes said an Orange County deputy discovered him about 1.5 miles away.
"Around 2:28 in the morning, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office received a call that there was a pedestrian stumbling in the roadway that appeared to be hurt."
When deputies arrived, they said they discovered the teenager lying in the road, unconscious. He later died at the hospital. Investigators said they tried taking fingerprints but still could not identify him.
"A lot of times, when we have people that do not have ID on them and they’re victims of a crash and they’re unconscious and can’t tell us who they are, we go to the next step which is fingerprinting," Montes added. "No fingerprints came back for him."
His body was identified by his mother Wednesday at the medical examiner’s office.
As investigators search for the driver in this fatal crash, a family mourns the loss of a loved one.
"To find out that nobody even bothered to stay at the scene that struck him, we need to give her some answers. We need the public’s help on this," Montes said.
If you witnessed what happened at Orange Avenue and Prince Street or have any information about this incident, call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS (8477).
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