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Three injured in hit-and-run crash

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  • | 4:00 a.m. July 17, 2009
  • East County
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Florida Highway Patrol investigators are searching for vehicle that fled the scene of an early morning crash at Interstate 75 and State Road 64.

According to FHP reports, the driver of the suspect car was traveling southbound on I-75 in the center lane. A second vehicle, a 2002 Ford SUV, was traveling in the right lane. the suspect car attempted to change lanes and struck the SUV in the left rear. The collision caused the SUV to rotate and eventually overturn. It came to rest facing northeast; the driver of the suspect car fled the scene, the report said.

The driver of the SUV, Courtney Ritchart, of North Port, and one of her three passengers, Kira Salter, or Port Charlotte, were taken to Manatee Memorial Hospital with minor injuries. A second passenger, Justin Jones, of Punta Gorda, was ejected from the SUV as it overturned and was taken to Bayfront Medical Center with serious injuries. The fourth passenger, Claudia Santiago, sustained minor injuries but did not require hospitalization.

Jones was not wearing a seatbelt.

The suspect vehicle is only described as a white, two-passenger vehicle.


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