Over 101,000 hit-and-run crashes in Florida last year

Reporter: Sydney Persing
Published: Updated:
Mother and son Katherine and Ronald Cujas. (Credit: Shared with WINK News)
Mother and son Katherine and Ronald Cujas. (Credit: Shared with WINK News)

The main message from authorities in Florida is to stay at the scene in hit-and-run crashes. Even if it is not your fault, the second you leave the scene, it becomes a crime.

Layla Aiken, Alana Tamplin and Shayden Colvin. They are three faces we know, not because of how they lived but how they died. We added two more names to the list of deaths by a hit and run on Friday: Mother and son, Cathy and Ronnie Cujas.

They were dealing with a blown-out tire when Florida Highway Patrol said a hit-and-run driver left them by the side of State Rd. 82. FHP Lt. Greg Bueno told WINK News it is a moral and legal duty of everyone. If you are involved in a crash, stay at the scene.

“You’re making a bad situation a whole lot worse,” Lt. Bueno said, “should you make a poor decision and leave. In fact, you’re actually committing a crime.”

A man hit and killed Shayden, 13, when he was riding his bike near his home in Collier County two years ago. His mom, Niki, told us the “run” in “hit and run” makes coping with the sudden loss so much harder.

“If he had stayed instead of fleeing and making us wait for care,” Niki said, “you know, it could’ve been instantaneous him calling 911.”

In 2018 alone, FHP responded to over 101,000 hit and run crashes. Of those, 198 of them were deadly. In Lee County, FHP confirmed nine deadly hit-and-runs; Collier County, three; and in Charlotte County, one.

The man convicted of the killing of Shayden will spend the next 20 years in prison. The suspect in the deaths of the Cujas’, Courtney Masterson, is being held on bond at $301,000.

Niki feels for the Cujas family.

“Especially her husband, you know?” Niki said. “He’s going to be by himself and not only missing one person but two.”

Copyright ©2024 Fort Myers Broadcasting. All rights reserved.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior written consent.