Cocoa police officer describes watching partner get hit by driver who fled

COCOA, Fla. — A Cocoa police motorcycle officer on Monday morning described watching his partner being struck by a driver who fled the crash scene.

The crash was reported shortly after 11 a.m. Sunday at South Cocoa and Rosa L. Jones boulevards during an escort of a traveling Vietnam War memorial, police said.

Police said the driver of a Jeep drove directly into Leitch's path.

Officer Ben Landis said the force of the crash sent his partner, Officer Rickford Leitch, flying into the Jeep's windshield before he came to rest face down in the road.

Leitch was knocked unconscious and had some obvious hand injuries, Landis said. Leitch has undergone one surgery on his hand.

Landis said he saw the driver of the Jeep and told him to stay at the scene, but while he was tending to Leitch, the driver fled.

Police said the fleeing driver, who has not been identified, later ditched the vehicle.

The driver was described as black, in his late 20s or early 30s, possibly with a mustache and goatee, and short hair.