The Florida Highway Patrol has located a vehicle involved in a hit-and-run crash that critically injured a pedestrian Sunday morning.
State troopers said 43-year-old Kevin Helm was struck on Hibiscus Avenue (CR 218) in Middleburg while walking along the roadway near Mayflower Street sometime between 3 and 10 a.m. Sunday. Helm remains in critical condition at UF Health Jacksonville.
Monday night, the FHP said it had found the vehicle involved in that crash, a 2011 Dodge Ram pickup truck. The truck had damage to its right front portion near the headlight.
FHP said the owner of the truck has been cooperating with investigators to identify the driver who struck Helm.
News4Jax spoke to one resident who said the neighborhood where the accident happened feels like it's a safe place to live, but the roadways aren't safe because people are constantly driving faster than the 35 mph speed limit.
“It’s very unsafe, and they need to tighten up,” said Johnny Daniels. “There is no bike lane (and) no sidewalk, and a lot of people depend on getting to Blanding (Boulevard) to get to work, and we need something out there for these people.”
Daniels didn't see the crash, but he lives right in the middle of the crime scene.
“It was pretty devastating,” he said. “We were worried about the condition that he was in, but it was a shame after hearing he had been out in the ditch for so long before anybody found him. It was just tragic.”
According to police, Helm lay in the ditch for hours before he was found.
News4Jax crime and safety analyst and retired police officer Gil Smith said it's important to never leave the scene of an accident.
“Even if you're involved in a hit-and-run, the person is unconscious,” Smith said. “You really must call police, because every minute is important in terms of saving someone's life.”
Smith said those walking along a roadway without a sidewalk should remember to walk facing traffic.
Anyone with any information on the hit-and-run is asked to call FHP at 904-359-6572 or First Coast Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS (8477).