Arrest made in crash that killed woman featured on A&E's 'Intervention'

77-year-old Mount Dora man charged

By Adrienne Cutway - Web Editor
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James Preston

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A 77-year-old Mount Dora man was arrested Sunday morning in connection with a hit-and-run on the Florida Turnpike that killed a woman who was once featured on A&E's "Intervention."

Troopers said Karissa Hilts, 29, was a passenger in a black Toyota around 7:30 p.m. March 8 when she dropped her phone out of the window.

[READ: Woman killed on Florida Turnpike featured on A&E's 'Intervention']

The driver pulled over onto the median and Hilts went into the road to try to retrieve her cellphone, but she was fatally struck before she could make it back to safety, troopers said.

The vehicle that hit her did not stop after the collision, the report said.

A woman who witnessed the crash told troopers that she saw a red Honda van hit Hilts, slow down and then drive off, according to troopers. The witness followed the van onto State Road 528 so she could write down the license plate number.

The witness told troopers that she saw the van had windshield damage, but she could not see who was driving the vehicle.

Another woman called authorities on the morning of March 9, she told them she saw the hit-and-run crash on the news and she believed she knew the driver.

She said James Preston, 77, picked her up from Orlando International Airport around 7:40 p.m. March 8 and told her he had been involved in a crash but he didn't stop or call 911, troopers said.

Preston's red Honda Odyssey had front-end damage, the driver's side airbag had deployed and glass from the windshield was covering the passenger's seat, according to the report.

The woman said she did not believe Preston was impaired.

Troopers impounded Preston's van on March 9. A search warrant was executed on March 13 and Preston was arrested Sunday morning. He is charged with failure to remain at the scene of a fatal crash.

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