Child killed in hit-and-run crash, arrest made in Polk County

A tragic hit-and-run incident in Polk County, Florida has resulted in the death of a 9-year-old boy, prompting a call for the arrest of the driver by Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd. In a video statement recorded at the scene of the crash, Sheriff Judd expressed his disbelief and outrage at the driver’s actions. The suspect, however, reportedly turned himself in to authorities later that night.

The incident occurred on Friday when the victim, identified as Andres Martinez, was riding his bicycle to a friend’s house along Hutchins Road at around 4:45 p.m. Sheriff Judd described the horrifying scene, stating that the boy was struck by a red four-door pickup truck, resulting in his death. The impact was so severe that the child’s bicycle was torn in half. Instead of stopping to render aid or report the incident, the driver fled the scene, heading eastbound on Hutchins Road.

Fortunately, the suspect did not remain at large for long. At approximately 10:30 p.m., Gilbert Almaguer, a 45-year-old resident of Bowling Green, contacted the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office to report that he was a passenger in the truck at the time of the crash. Hardee County deputies and Bowling Green police responded to Almaguer’s residence, where they located the truck. Pieces of the suspect vehicle left at the scene were brought by Polk County deputies to confirm that they matched the damage on the truck.

During the subsequent investigation at the Bowling Green Police Department, Almaguer claimed that the truck was registered under his mother’s name and that he allowed someone else to drive it because he was tired and did not possess a valid license. He stated that he was unaware of what the truck had hit, speculating that it may have been a mailbox or a post. Almaguer alleged that the driver exited the vehicle near some railroad tracks, leaving him to complete the journey home. However, he was unable to provide any information regarding the driver’s identity, address, or phone number.

While a search and seizure warrant was being obtained for the truck, Almaguer approached a Polk County deputy and voluntarily confessed to being the driver and sole occupant of the vehicle at the time of the fatal collision. As a result, Almaguer is now facing a charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving death on public or private property without rendering aid. He was taken into custody and booked into the Hardee County jail before being scheduled for transfer to Polk County at a later date.

The tragic incident has left the community in shock, mourning the loss of a young life. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office expressed its commitment to seeking justice for Andres Martinez and holding the responsible party accountable for their actions. As the investigation continues, the details of the case will be examined thoroughly to ensure that justice is served.

Please note: The map provided is a general depiction of the crash area and may not indicate the exact location of the incident.

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