The Florida Highway Patrol arrested a Tampa woman last week in connection with a fatal hit-and-run incident on Interstate 75 last May.
Authorities say Rusty Lee Harris was walking on the inside northhbound lane of the freeway at the Sun City Center exit in the pre-dawn hours of May 2 when he was struck by a Ford Taurus piloted by Endea Iman Brown. They say the 38-year-old Harris was propelled forty yards distant from the point of impact, sustaining several fractures of the skull and a laceration to his brain stem. His injuries proved mortal, and his body was found later in the day. According to toxicology reports, his blood-alcohol content was 0.25%, which is several times the limit at which Florida law presumes impairment.
Troopers further allege that the 25-year-old Brown told interviewers that she was driving to her boyfriend’s home after leaving work when she struck what she believed to be an animal. She says fear compelled her to continue on her way instead of rendering aid.
Investigators say they discovered Brown’s broken vehicle at a salvage yard. They detail severe damage to the vehicle’s front end, and say they found hair that contained Harris’ DNA. Further investigation yielded the decedent’s actions prior to his demise: after drinking at a local bar, Harris left with a friend to the latter’s residence at Bradenton. At some point after leaving the bar, the friend’s vehicle ran out of gas, and Harris left the car on foot, apparently upon an ill-fated mission to secure gasoline for the vehicle.
Brown was booked into the Hillsborough County Jail on charges of leaving the scene of an accident involving a fatality and tampering with physical evidence. She was released hours after booking upon posting a $17,000 bond.