Man arrested in fatal hit-and-run crash

37-year-old man riding scooter killed Monday morning

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Highway Patrol has arrested a 33-year-old man in connection with the hit-and-run death of a scooter rider on the Westside early Monday morning.

Santos Montiel is charged with leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death in the hit-and-run of 37-year-old Michael Moon.

Just after midnight, state troopers were called to Normandy Boulevard, near Stratton Road, in reference to a deadly crash.

Troopers said Moon (pictured below with his great-niece) was traveling westbound by scooter on Normandy Boulevard when he was rear-ended by another vehicle. Moon died as a result of the crash.

Troopers arrested Montiel Monday afternoon. They said he turned himself in to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at a gas station at Normandy Boulevard and Yellow Water Road. JSO turned Montiel over to the FHP.

Moon's family members said he was driving the scooter home from one of his two jobs working as a restaurant server. They said he was a funny man who loved his family and kept everyone smiling.

Troopers arrested Montiel Monday afternoon. They said he turned himself in to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office at a gas station at Normandy Boulevard and Yellow Water Road. JSO turned Montiel over to the FHP.

A customer who was at the station when Montiel showed up said he came in and asked the clerk to call 911, so he could turn himself in.

Troopers said Montiel left the scene of the crash. They believed the vehicle involved may have been a black 2005-08 Nissan Pathfinder, may have had front and center damage, and may have had red transfer paint on it from hitting the scooter.

"He just said he'd thought he hit a deer or a dog or an animal or something," said the customer, who asked to remain anonymous. "He was panicked, scared, so he didn't stop."

But FHP Sgt. Dylan Bryan said Montiel might have told officers a different story.

"We're not talking about specifics of the interview because that's part of the investigation, but as far as they know -- and I talked to the Lieutenant there -- nothing was said about he thought he hit a deer," Bryan said. "But expanding beyond that we're not going to release anymore as far as testimony."

A helmet was located at the scene of the crash, but troopers are unsure if Moon was wearing it.

All westbound lanes of Normandy Boulevard were closed for several hours between Chaffee Road and Stratton Road while troopers investigated the crash. The roadway reopened around 5 a.m.

Florida passed new laws this year and drivers who flee the scene of a crash will face stiffer penalties, including a three-year driver's license revocation for hit-and-runs involving injury or death and a mandatory four-year minimum prison term in the case of death. 

"Turning himself in does present mitigation that his attorney can present to the judge and the State Attorney's Office, and that will possibly allow the judge to impose a lower sentence," attorney Rhonda Peoples-Waters said. "However, under the guidelines that were imposed with Florida law, the guidelines will have to start at that minimum mandatory of four years."

FHP said it has responded to 13 fatal hit-and-run accidents in Jacksonville just this year.

"That's something our lawmakers in Tallahassee wanted to focus on and rightfully so," Bryan said. "We've had an increase of hit-and-run collisions in our state, and that's one of the actions we're putting it out there to reduce those numbers."