Victim in Bradenton hit-and-run dies

MANATEE — A 41-year-old woman struck by a hit-and-run driver early Tuesday has died, becoming the third such case in Manatee County this month.

Erika Leigh Fortner, of Venice, was hit about 12:18 a.m. while attempting to cross U.S. 41, from east to west, just south of Montgomery Avenue in southern Manatee County.

The car that hit Fortner was northbound, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. It was described as a maroon-colored car, perhaps a hatchback.

A sideview mirror from the car was found at the scene, according to a report.

Fortner, who died Tuesday afternoon at Blake Medical Center, is the third pedestrian killed this month by a driver who fled the scene.

Shadeed Brandian Wright, 33, also died while crossing U.S. 41. He and a friend attempted to cross the street in the 5100 block about 2:38 a.m. Oct. 14, but both were struck by a vehicle, later identified as a rental car, according to FHP.

Wright was struck by at least one other vehicle that also fled the scene where he died. The other pedestrian was critically injured.

A few days later Theresa Kidd, 52, was struck while crossing 15th Street East near the intersection of Magellan Drive about 6:17 a.m. Oct 18. The driver of a dark-colored sedan fled the scene. Kidd was pronounced dead at Manatee Memorial Hospital.

“Some people leave the scene because they’re scared or don’t have a valid license, or have warrants,” said Lt. Chris Miller. “You have to care enough about people that you at least stop and render assistance.”

Drivers should stop their vehicles, call 911 and give first aid if possible while waiting for law enforcement and emergency personnel to arrive, Miller said.

It appeared as if the victims stepped onto the roadway after failing to properly observe approaching traffic in these incidents, according to FHP.

“In a lot of these cases, in hit-and-runs, there is a pedestrian violation involved,” Miller said. “If there is an accident, car versus pedestrian, it doesn’t mean the driver will be at fault.”

However, if a driver, at fault or not, leaves the scene of an accident resulting in death, they face a felony charge and jail time.

Anyone who witnessed or has information on these incidents can call FHP at 239-938-1800.

Elizabeth Johnson, Herald crime reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7041. Follow her on Twitter @EJohnsonBHcrime.