Every year, traffic crashes kill more than 30,000 people in the United States.
In Florida, that number is around 3,000.
It’s a horrible moment when a loved one is killed so suddenly, but there is an added sting to the surviving family and friends when the person who caused the crash flees from the scene and refuses to accept responsibility.
Since 2014, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office has seven unsolved fatal hit-and-run cases. Our detectives in the Traffic Homicide Unit have not given up on these cases — they would like nothing more than to bring those responsible to justice. These cases remaining unsolved is like an open wound for the families and friends.
Maybe this article will be read and then tossed aside, but maybe someone will read this article and step forward with one little detail that could help solve one of these cases.
Here are the victims in the seven unsolved cases.
- Scott Andrew Matthies, 36. Killed on Interstate 4, near U.S. 27, in Davenport on May 30, 2020.
- Kara Hanvey, 22. Killed on U.S. 92 (near Reynolds Road) in Lakeland on June 16, 2019.
- Ramond Johnson, 59. Killed on Washington Avenue, near M Street, in Lake Wales on May 6, 2019.
- Barry Powell, 29. Killed on November, 26, 2017, on State Road 60, near Armour Road, in Bartow.
- Leonard Wimberly, 56. Killed on October 28, 2017, on Masterpiece Road in Lake Wales.
- Jillian Braddock, 20. Killed on August 9, 2014, on Clubhouse Road in Lakeland.
- Hector Chaves, 27. Killed on U.S. 92, near Payne Street, in Lakeland on August 9, 2014.
A more detailed look at each of these cases can be found on our website at polksheriff.org.
Tips and information can be made to PCSO at 863-298-6200 — or anonymously through Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS.
These victims and the people who love them deserve these cases to be solved. Even the smallest bit of information could prove to be huge in solving these investigations.