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Sunday, July 14, 2024
HomeNewsLocal newsBicyclists In “Fair Condition” As Police Seek Hit-And-Run Driver

Bicyclists In “Fair Condition” As Police Seek Hit-And-Run Driver

The Virgin Islands Police Department is looking for a green 2007 Honda CRV-Lx with a license plate reading CHK426. Anyone who knows this was urged to call 340-778-2211 or 340-227-0184. (Source file photo)

Hospital officials in Florida said the two cyclists critically injured in a St. Croix hit-and-run Sunday morning were in “fair condition” Tuesday afternoon.

The cyclists, a man and a woman had been airlifted to Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital. The woman had a life-threatening bleeding hemorrhage in her brain and a broken back. The man had a broken neck and back, police said.

Friends have started a $10,000 GoFundMe page, raising money to cover what will likely be a lengthy recovery period.

The driver who struck the two from the rear on a broad, flat, straight stretch of North Shore Road simply drove away, a felony, said Sgt. Arthur Joseph, commander of the island’s Traffic Investigation Bureau.

“There is nothing obstructing that person’s vision. It is a flat road,” Joseph said of the roadway near Straker Motors.

Police were leaving no stone unturned in their investigation and urged anyone with information about the car or its driver to speak up. Anyone who knows this was urged to call 340-778-2211 or 340-227-0184.

“We need the public’s help,” Joseph said. “We don’t know where the car is and we don’t know who the driver is.”

The bumper of a green 2007 Honda CRV-Lx with a Virgin Islands license plate reading CHK426 was found in the roadway with the injured cyclists, Joseph said. While finding the car’s owner was relatively easy, proving who was behind the wheel was more difficult.

“This person who was operating the car knows they can’t take the car to the home. So somebody might see a car out there without a bumper, without a license plate on the front. This was broad daylight. This was between 6 and 6:30 in the morning. So somebody saw something,” he said. “Yes, we know who the owner is and we’ll pursue those avenues but we can’t assume that the owner is the driver.”

Joseph warned against speculation and spreading unverified accounts of the incident as they could spread confusion and potentially traumatize the family of the victims by creating a counter-productive false narrative.

Police, he said, were gathering physical evidence, surveillance video, and eye-witness descriptions.

Although the accident was very serious, had the driver remained at the scene, he or she would likely have received nothing more serious than a citation, Joseph said. Leaving the scene of a traffic accident where someone was hurt, however, is an automatic felony punishable by up to five years in prison.

Joseph himself was knocked off his bicycle by a motorist in October 2022. Although the police officer was not seriously injured, the driver stayed at the scene of the accident — avoiding the felony of leaving.

“I still got the bruises to this day,” he said. “Accidents happen. He came too close to my bike. If he had not stayed at the scene, we would have found him.”

Joseph said his unit does not give up on crimes like the hit-and-run, no matter how long it took to find the guilty party.

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