Injured teen’s missing earbud leads to arrest of suspected hit-and-run driver

Peter Bradford Swing

JENSEN BEACH, Fla. — An injured teen’s missing earbud led deputies to a South Florida man accused in a hit-and-run accident earlier this week, authorities.

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According to a news release posted by the Martin County Sheriff’s Office to its Facebook page on Friday, Peter Bradford Swing, 49, of Jensen Beach, was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a crash with great bodily injury.

The sheriff’s office said that a 15-year-old boy was riding a bicycle on Northeast Savannah Road near a convenience store on Wednesday night when he was hit by what was described as a silver Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, Treasure Coast Newspapers reported.

According to the sheriff’s office, the teen was wearing earbuds when he was struck by the vehicle, the newspaper reported. One of the earbuds “flew into the driver’s SUV upon impact and lodged under a floor mat inside the vehicle,” the sheriff’s office said.

The earbud allowed investigators to use geolocation tracking to locate the damaged SUV. Deputies located the earbud and damaged SUV behind Swing’s residence in Jensen Beach, Treasure Coast Newspapers reported.

“When the child’s head went through the side glass of the rear passenger window, his (earbud) popped off, fell into the car,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder told WPEC-TV. “And then that tracking device that we have our phones for that kind of technology, we’ve located the vehicle back.”

It was unclear whether the teen heard the vehicle approaching him.

Deputies arriving at a Jensen Beach residence alleged that “someone attempted to conceal” the damaged SUV behind the home, WPTV reported.

Swing was inside the residence and allegedly told deputies that he expected them “to show up at some point,” the sheriff’s office wrote on Facebook. The suspect then provided a full confession, deputies said.

“It’s an unusual way to locate a hit-and-run crash suspect, but it worked,” the sheriff’s office wrote.

According to the social media post, Swing told investigators he “began to panic” and left the teen on the side of the road because he had previously served time in prison on drug charges.

Florida Department of Corrections records show that Swing was convicted in St. Lucie County in 2018 and was released from prison in June 2021 for convictions related to trafficking cocaine, possession of marijuana and being a felon in possession of a gun, Treasure Coast Newspapers reported.

According to the boy’s mothers, the teenager was treated for his injuries and released from St. Mary’s Hospital in West Palm Beach on Friday, according to WPTV.

“I think the family will undoubtedly feel some measure of justice, but we can’t undo what happened,” Snyder told the television station. “I think the real sting here is that he left an unconscious child in a dark parking lot and drove away.”

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