FHP: Driver arrested for hitting, killing woman searching for phone on Turnpike

Updated:

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - State troopers say they have arrested a Lake County man for a hit-and-run crash that killed a woman on the Florida Turnpike.

Investigators say Karissa Hilts was a passenger in a car on the Turnpike near mile marker 258 on March 8 when she dropped her phone out of the window.

When Hilts got out of the car to retrieve her phone, investigators say she ran across the southbound lanes of the Turnpike and was hit by a red Honda that left the scene.

According to a crash report, Hilts died at the scene.

On March 9, troopers received a tip from a witness who claimed to know the driver of involved in the crash. The witness told troopers that James Preston, 77, had picked her up from the airport on March 8, and she noticed heavy damage to his red Honda Odyssey.

The witness said Preston told her that he had hit a deer.

Troopers said Preston admitted in an interview that he was involved in a crash on the Turnpike. However, Preston claimed that he stopped, got out of the van and didn’t see anything so he carried on to the airport.

Troopers took Preston’s vehicle into evidence and are currently waiting for test results.

Based on the evidence and statements from witnesses, troopers arrested Preston on suspicion of leaving the scene of a crash that involved death. 

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