Putnam County teen killed in hit-and-run

FHP: Boy walking with sister hit, killed; driver later turned himself in

By Ashley Spicer - Reporter, anchor

PALATKA, Fla. - A Putnam County family is grieving after a hit-and-run crash killed a teenage boy Sunday night.

Austin Wise, 14, died after he was hit by a pickup truck in a rural area southwest of Palatka.

Austin's 12-year-old sister, Alexis, was there when the crash happened and called for help.

"It was quick, like I didn't even see the truck go," Alexis said. "I don't know. It just happened fast."

Alexis (pictured) and Austin were walking down the road just a mile from their grandmother's house when a truck crossed the center line, hit and killed him, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Alexis was not injured.

Alexis, who goes by Lexi, was so upset Monday she didn't want her face to be on camera, but she shared photos of her and her brother, including a collage she made that is now the background on her cellphone (pictured below).

"He liked to fish and surf, and he would always go to the city dock and go shrimping, and he taught me how to throw a cast net ,so I know how to do that," Lexi said. "His grandpa was the most important person to him, and now they are in heaven together."

The FHP report said Austin was walking on Stokes Landing Road with Lexi around 9 p.m., when a 2002 Dodge Ram work truck hit and killed Austin.

"He was walking on this side, and I saw this big truck, and it just swerved over and it came, and I didn't see him fly, but he did, and I looked over and he was in the ditch, and I was like, 'Oh my God!' and I said his name, but then I ran over and called my grandma," Lexi said.

The driver, 50-year-old Alan Sherman Ward, drove away from the scene but turned himself in just before 2 a.m. after a BOLO was issued for him, police said.

Ward told police where they could find the truck, which was towed to a secure Florida Department of Law Enforcement Facility.

"He shouldn't have done that. He felt guilty, I guess, because he turned himself in, but it was still wrong," Lexi said. "(I think he should get) life in prison."

Ward had one DUI on his driving record from 1990 in Putnam County.

Charges are now pending in the hit-and-run case.

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