NewsTreasure CoastRegion Martin County


Unsolved hit-and-run cases mounting in Martin County

A vehicle involved in a hit-and-run crash on South Kanner Highway, south of the intersection with Southeast Salerno Road, in Martin County in April 2022.jpg
Posted at 5:03 PM, Sep 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-14 18:26:16-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. — Unsolved hit-and-run cases are mounting in Martin County.

The problem is becoming so bad, the Martin County Sheriff's Office has now assigned a detective exclusively to trying to solve more cases that might otherwise not get as much attention.

It could cause damage that's no more than a scratch, but hit-and-runs can be so serious that they also cause injury.

Deputy Erick Day said he's concerned that it seems more drivers are leaving the scene.

"Just the generality of how common it’s becoming for someone to cause property damage and or injury and just leave. It’s not a victimless crime," Day said.

It's hard to say why, but Day believes it's often drivers who don't have a valid license in the first place.

So now Day is tasked with getting to the bottom of unsolved hit-and-runs and holding those drivers responsible.

"I found how deep of a problem it was," Day said.

Day found the agency has 180 unsolved incidents since January.

"Those numbers were just so egregious, it wasn’t going to just go away," Day said.

So Day is looking at which cases have a better chance of being solved with a closer look. His work has already helped make eight arrests and more warrants are in the pipeline waiting for approval.

Day said hit-and-run drivers that aren’t caught are 75% more likely to do it again.

So he’s also using the public’s help, like posting a hit-and-run case from April on social media that gave him new leads in the case of a driver accused of hitting an elderly driver’s car and not stopping.

New tips prompted by the post will likely make his next case closed.

"Even the smallest bit of detail, telling you the door of the vehicle. We don’t necessarily need the whole picture, but a piece of the puzzle helps put that together," Day said.