Thanks to a Heartland Crime Stoppers anonymous tip, on Tuesday, January 30, 2018, PCSO Traffic deputies identified and arrested 54-year-old Lisa Johnsey Rockefeller of Beacon Lane in Auburndale and charged her with one count Leaving the Scene of a Crash Causing Death (F-1). The fatal hit-and-run crash occurred in front of International Market World in Auburdale on Sunday night, January 21, 2018, killing 45-year-old Eduardo Valle-Sanchez of Bartow.
According to the affidavit, on January 21, 2018, Valle-Sanchez was found deceased on the roadway in front of the International Market World, 1052 US Hwy 92 West in Auburndale, and physical evidence along with his autopsy confirmed he died from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle crash.
PCSO published information about the crash, along with the Heartland Crime Stoppers number, seeking the public’s help to identify the suspect responsible for killing Valle-Sanchez. On January 29th, PCSO Traffic deputies received an anonymous Heartland Crime Stoppers tip identifying Lisa Rockefeller, who lives on Beacon Lane in Auburndale, as the possible suspect, and that the vehicle involved was parked on Greenway Circle.
On January 30th, deputies responded to Greenway Circle in Lakeland. While there was no car visibly parked in front of the home, deputies walked around the perimeter and saw a Toyota Camry parked under a carport-like structure at the rear of the home. The car had windshield and hood damage consistent with a pedestrian being struck. While deputies were on-scene, they observed a woman, identified as Rockefeller, come out of the house, get into the car, and pulled out of the carport area. Deputies made contact with Rockefeller and her family members at that time.
Family members told deputies that Rockefeller made several statements this week about being involved in a crash, and told one family member that she struck a pedestrian in front of International Market World on Sunday. She parked her car behind the family member’s home on Greenway Circle, without their permission. Rockefeller was admitted to a hospital on January 24th, and released on January 30th, at which time she got a ride to the home on Greenway Circle, and told family members she was going to turn herself and her car in to the Sheriff’s Office.
She was booked into the Polk County Jail late last evening, and will have a first appearance hearing at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 1, 2018.
“The Heartland Crime Stoppers anonymous tip we received about this fatal hit-and-run crash is the reason we were able to solve this crime so quickly. The Crime Stoppers tipline works. You can remain anonymous, get a cash reward, and help us solve crime. Regardless of whether or not Rockefeller was impaired when the crash occurred, was distracted, or driving recklessly when she hit the victim - which we’ll likely never know - she is facing a harsher penalty for leaving the scene than if she had just stayed there to report it.” - Grady Judd, Sheriff
EXCERPT FROM THE PROBABLE CAUSE:
Based on statements Rockefeller made that she struck a pedestrian on 01/21/2018 at or near the International Market World, damage observed to her vehicle consistent with a pedestrian crash, the fact that the crash was not reported to law enforcement, the fact Eduardo Valle-Sanchez was killed as a result of the crash, and the fact that an average and prudent person should have known they struck a pedestrian, Lisa Johnsey Rockefeller was arrested for leaving the scene of a crash involving death.
As of this investigation, Rockefeller never reported the crash. Additionally, there was no other pedestrian crash at or near the International Market World on 01/21/2018. The distance from International Market World to Rockefeller's residence was only 1.7 miles. The damage to Rockefeller's vehicle is estimated at approximately $4000.00.