Late last evening (Friday, September 1, 2017), thanks to tips from those who saw the news and social media posts about the hit-and-run that occurred in Lakeland, during which 11-year-old Trinity Hamilton was injured, PCSO Traffic deputies arrested 33-year-old William Ray Hull of East Lake Parker Drive in Lakeland.
The following is an excerpt from the probable cause portion of his affidavit, and is self-explanatory:
Florida Uniform Traffic Citation #A7VXSME
On 09/01/17 at approximately 1610 hours the juvenile victim, Trinity Hamilton was walking westbound on the north side grass shoulder area of Idlewild Street, just west of the intersection of Leslie Drive in Lakeland (she was walking home after being dropped off by the bus, as she does every day).
While walking westbound, the victim was struck from the rear by what witnesses reported was a white pick-up truck. The impact to the victim redirected her into a ditch area north of the roadway surface and resulted in serious injuries.
A witness reported she was traveling westbound on Idlewild Street and observed a white colored pickup truck, with a black stripe down the center of the hood traveling behind her. The witness advised that she then saw the truck impact the victim and noted that the truck never stopped and/or slowed to render any aide to the victim. She reported she pulled off the side of the road and observed the truck flee the area at a high rate of speed northbound on East Lake Parker Drive.
A witness who resides in front of the crash scene, reported she heard the impact and upon looking out towards the roadway, observed a white colored, full-size, pickup fleeing the scene westbound on Idlewild Street.
Evidence at the crash scene revealed apparent blood near the westbound fog line. Inspection of the crash scene further revealed that primary impact between the pickup truck and victim took place near westbound fog line.
Within the north side ditch, near the area of final rest for the victim, an exterior right side vehicle mirror was recovered. Deputies noted that the mirror was face up with possible DNA on the glass surface. There also were several pieces of apparent automotive plastic recovered within a debris field in the grass shoulder area.
During the crash scene investigation, a residential security video located at 2312 Idlewild Street (just west of the crash scene) was obtained and viewed.
Review of this video revealed an older model truck, white, Ford pickup traveling westbound on Idlewild Street during the time frames for the this crash. Review of this video further identified the pickup truck had a black colored racing stripe down the hood, a silver colored toolbox in the rear tailgate area and tinted windows. Observations of the pickup truck were consistent with the previously obtained witness statements.
At approximately 2054 hours, PCSO dispatch received a tip from a citizen in reference to a truck matching the description of the vehicle involved in the crash at 1609 East Lake Parker Drive with damage matching the description given on social media. Deputies went to 1609 East Lake Parker Drive, and confirmed the vehicle was the suspect vehicle.
Deputies made contact with the suspect driver, identified as William Hull. They read Hull his Miranda Warning and Hull stated he understood Miranda and agreed to speak with deputies about the crash. During this interview, Hull advised that he was the operator of the pick-up truck and that he was involved in a crash on Idlewild Street. e also stated he hit something on Idlewild Street but did not stop to see what it was.
Deputies' inspection of the vehicle was consistent with the events of this crash. This damage included damage to the right front hood, front right turn signal lens and right passenger side. Deputies further noted that the right passenger exterior mirror was missing and was consistent with the mirror found at the crash scene.
During the crash, the victim received serious injuries, which included a fractured jaw and a dislocated pelvis. She was transported to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa Florida for treatment.
Investigation of this crash determined that the suspect failed to stop and render aid to the victim and/or failed to report this crash to Law Enforcement. It is further determined that if the suspect would have stopped at the crash scene, the victim would have been visible from the roadway, due to the recent clearing of the ditch area and low vegetation. During this incident, the suspect also attempted to conceal the vehicle and damage within a fenced back yard of his mother's residence. A neighbor reported that the suspect always backs the truck into the fenced yard and on today's date, he did not. Deputies determined that the suspect's actions were an attempt to conceal the vehicle and damage from witnesses and law enforcement.
The suspect was transported to the Polk County Jail and charged with:
Leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injury (F-2)
Tampering with evidence (F-3) Trinity is expected to fully recover from her injuries. We remain grateful to the wonderful citizens who assisted us during this investigation, and the fact that the victim was not more seriously injured.