Good Samaritan killed by hit-and-run driver while helping victims of Lake Wales crash, sheriff says

LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) — Polk County deputies are searching for a driver who killed a man during a hit-and-run Monday morning.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said at about 6:11 a.m., a 15-year-old boy from Lake Wales and his 12-year-old sister were traveling in an SUV in the area of State Road 60 and County Road 630 in Lake Wales when they crashed with a pickup truck.

Deputies said after the crash, a 34-year-old man from Melbourne, parked near the wreck and tried to help the victims. His family identified him as Brandon Sanders.

While he tried to help, a white 2012 Honda Odyssey van that was heading east on SR-60 struck the pickup truck — which then fatally struck the Good Samaritan

The sheriff’s office said whoever was inside the Odyssey immediately ran away. They remained missing after an extensive search by deputies.

Deputies said the Odyssey had a salvage title for it in Arizona from 2022. The vehicle was serviced in Arizona and New Mexico in 2013.

“We saw two completely different kinds of people on this crash—a brave, concerned man immediately trying to render aid to injured strangers, and a selfish coward who ran away,” Sheriff Grady Judd said. “We’re going to do everything we can to find the person responsible, but we could use any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem. We need to know who that white 2012 Honda Odyssey belongs to, or who drove it. You can call our Traffic Homicide detectives at 863-668-3100, or you can call anonymously to Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS and even be eligible for a $5,000 reward if your information leads to an arrest.”

Judd said it is imperative that the person or people who were responsible be found soon before they hitch a ride out of the county.

The victims in the incident were hospitalized after the crash, with the 12-year-old girl being in critical condition.

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