Family of hit-and-run victim struggles to understand why driver fled

Bradley Slama, 52, of Orange Park, struck, killed on New Kings Road

Family photo of Bradley Slama
Family photo of Bradley Slama

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Family members of an Orange Park man who was killed in a hit-and-run crash this week are pleading for answers as they struggle to understand why the driver took off and didn't stop.

Bradley Jay Slama, 52, of Orange Park, was trying to cross New Kings Road at Richardson Road just after midnight Wednesday when he was struck by a vehicle and the driver drove off, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said. 

Slama was pronounced dead at the scene. He is the fifth pedestrian who has been killed in a hit-and-run on New Kings Road in the last two months. 

RELATED: 5 pedestrians killed in hit-and-runs on New Kings Road in 2 months

Police said they have recovered the Chevrolet Tahoe that hit Slama, and traffic homicide detectives are still investigating. 

Dororthy Depiazza, the mother-in-law of Slama, told News4Jax Friday that detectives are making progress in the investigation.

Depiazza said her entire family is trying to understand how someone could hit the father of three children and grandfather of four and then drive away.

"I just don't understand why people don't stop," Depiazza said. 

She learned about the hit-and-run while watching the news Wednesday morning, but didn't know the victim was her son-in-law.

"But then the detectives came to the door and they were inquiring about where my daughter was and where her son was, and I said, 'What's this about?'" Depiazza said.

A witness called 911 to report the deadly accident. Depiazza said she doesn't know why Slama was walking on New Kings Road, but speculated that, since Slama worked as a mechanic, he may have been working on cars.

The way he died has been extremely difficult for the family to accept, Depiazza said.

"Just keep the family in your prayers. They need that right now. They really do need that right now. Thank you," she said. 

Depiazza wanted to urge anyone who is ever involved in an accident to stay at the scene, saying there may not be a lot the driver can do, but at least stop and try to render aid.

The Northside Coalition, a newly formed group, called for city leaders to do something about the high number of pedestrian deaths, passionately pleading for safety measures along New Kings Road on the city's Northside. 

Anyone with information about the hit-and-run is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 904-630-0500 or email JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. To remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 866-845-TIPS (8477).