RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. — Riviera Beach police on Monday announced an arrest in a deadly hit-and-run crash involving a golf cart back in August.
Police said Willie Joe Shannon Jr., 57, was driving a black Mercedes Benz vehicle on Aug. 16 on the Blue Heron Bridge when he hit Troy Lowry, who was riding in a golf cart.
Lowry was the owner of Get Wet Watersports in Riviera Beach.
Police said Shannon ran from the scene and was later identified as a person of interest in the case based on video evidence.
Shannon was taken into custody on Sunday by Riviera Beach police and the U.S. Marshals Service.
"I’d like to thank our officers, investigators and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office for expediting the analysis of forensic evidence collected at the scene, so we could bring the individual responsible for this callous act to justice," Riviera Beach Police Chief Josh Lewis said in a news release.
Shannon is facing charges of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash involving a death.
This crash really shook up this community with a business owner getting killed on the bridge. Nearby businesses said they hear cars screeching all the time as they speed right over this bridge.
"Yeah, yeah, we hear it a lot. There’s a lot of accidents on Blue Heron," said Chris Rodberg, who owns Rod Room Bait and Tackle, right next to the Blue Heron Bridge. "These guys blast over this bridge at 80, 90 miles per hour. I can’t count on my hands and toes a day the number of times they go over at that rate."
But in the early hours of Aug. 16, it was Rodberg's friend, Troy Lowry, who was hit and killed while driving his golf cart.
"It’s so final. He’s gone. It’s not, he’ll be back. He’s gone. A split second you’re here, a split second you’re gone. There’s no second chances," Rodberg said.
A car hit Lowry from behind while going over the bridge. The driver ran off. But four months later, police said they have their guy.
"In an investigation like this, we never wanna rush anything. We want to make sure we are crossing all of our T's and dotting all of our I's," said traffic homicide investigator Brian DeSantis with the Riviera Beach Police Department.
DeSantis said processing the crime scene and gathering the evidence to place Shannon behind the wheel took time and teamwork, with video and DNA evidence playing a role.
Records show Shannon was driving 99 to 113 miles an hour when the crash happened.
"There’s no reason for it. There’s no excuse for it," DeSantis said.
Rodberg hopes people can learn from the tragedy and slow down, but he's also grateful for a conclusion.
"It’s not surprising. It just took time. The main thing is everybody is going to be able to put this behind them and have closure to it," Rodberg said.
Closure for the family is also on officers' minds this holiday season.
"They are going to have that empty seat this year. And it feels gratifying and it feels fulfilling that we are able to bring some answers to some of the questions that have lingered in their heart and in their minds over the last four months," DeSantis said.
Police said they're still investigating if Lowry and Shannon knew each other.
"We are utilizing many different agencies who are working in cooperation together. So there is a larger timeframe when it comes to investigations of this nature," DeSantis said.
While police have made an arrest, they said this is still a very active investigation. So if you have any information about what happened the night of the crash, or details that can help investigators, be sure to call the Riviera Beach Police Department.