Tractor-trailer connected to fatal Turnpike hit-and-run found

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VERO BEACH, Fla. —

The Sanford man believed to be behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash Monday night finally revealed where state troopers could find it.

Florida Highway Patrol troopers said they have spoken with a person of interest in a hit-and-run that left two deaf people dead on the Florida Turnpike.

On Thursday troopers said Robert Bates, 68, spoke with troopers in Vero Beach, but, on the advice of his attorney, did not give them a statement.

They said Bates did give them the location of a tractor-trailer they have been seeking.

According to troopers, they have recovered the tractor-trailer. It's still unclear why Bates waited days to reveal the location.

"God help him if he altered that truck in any fashion.  He could face a third-degree felony and a penalty up to five years in prison.," said WFTV legal analyst Bill Sheaffer.

Investigators said they will process the truck.

Mariah King, 19, of Davenport and Vincent Mathews, 24, of Lakeland, were changing a tire on the side of the northbound lanes of the Florida Turnpike just after dark near Fort Pierce when a tractor-trailer veered off the main roadway and struck them Monday night.

Troopers named Bates as a person of interest in the case and began a search for him and for the truck.

An attorney who said he represents Bates contacted FHP Wednesday.

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