PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) — The 22-year-old Warrensburg, Missouri man who left five people injured in the street and drove away from the scene told investigators he raced away from the scene because it was his first accident and he was scared.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, three men and two women from Louisiana were traveling west on Thomas Drive on an 8-seater golf cart when they were rear-ended by a gray Dodge Charger on May 19.
Troopers said three of the five people on the golf cart were thrown from the vehicle before the golf cart went off the road and crashed into a tree.
Troopers were ultimately able to identify and arrest the driver after locating the Charger.
The suspect, Tyler J. Downey is charged with leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury, four counts of leaving the scene of a crash with injury, leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, and failure to register a motor vehicle (he had a Florida tag attached which was registered to a Ford Focus).
Investigators found Downey after locating the Charger at a local restaurant in Panama City Beach. After the vehicle was towed Downey called the Florida Highway Patrol to inquire about the location of the vehicle. Troopers met with him, read him his rights and he then confessed to the hit-and-run, according to the arrest affidavit.
Downey told the investigators that he was inattentive while driving and rear-ended the gold cart and added that “due to this being his first crash, he panicked and fled the crash scene.”