Driver in fatal crash asked to come forward

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 16, 2007 at 11:48 p.m.

Investigators have pieced together what they believe happened early Saturday morning when a 16-year-old Live Oak resident was struck and killed by a vehicle along County Road 137, and they are making a plea for the driver of the vehicle to come forward.

"Investigators want to interview the driver of the vehicle that left the scene to gather further information relating to events surrounding this crash," said Lt. Mike Burroughs with the Florida Highway Patrol. "We understand that this driver is most likely frightened, however investigators want to obtain the driver's version of the crash to help bring closure to this tragic crash for the family of the victim."

David Jeffrey Nelson, 16, a sophomore at Suwannee High School, was found dead alongside CR 137 around 3:35 a.m. The severity of his injuries led FHP investigators to believe he might have been struck by a tractor-trailer.

Burroughs said that by speaking to the family, investigators have learned that Nelson was driving back to Live Oak from the Green Cove Springs area with his older brother a few hours before he was killed.

Burroughs said Nelson and his brother got into an argument and Nelson asked to be let out of the car near the intersection of U.S. 90 and CR 137 in the Wellborn area around 12:30 a.m.

Witnesses and local store clerks reported seeing Nelson walking along the road between 1:15 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. wearing a blue and white basketball jersey, red pants and an orange knit cap. But despite his bright clothing, Burroughs said it was an overcast, dark night and there was light fog to further impede visibility.

Burroughs said investigators believe the driver probably did not see Nelson, who was walking with traffic along the outside of the northbound lane, until right before the crash. Skid marks on the road suggest the driver might have braked hard when he did see Nelson, but investigators say the vehicle struck Nelson with its right front, scooping the teenager up onto the hood. Nelson's body then landed on the southbound shoulder.

"Investigators are sympathetic to the fact that it was a dark morning, it was overcast and with a light fog and that the pedestrian was walking on the wrong side of the road," Burroughs said.

Anyone with information regarding this crash is asked to contact Burroughs at (352) 284-1464.

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