JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A suspect in a hit-and-run that seriously injured a pedestrian Wednesday night was followed by man who witnessed the accident and held the driver at gunpoint until police arrived.
"I seen that he hit a pedestrian and felt he was not going to stop," John Avery said on Thursday morning. "He was trying to leave the scene, and I felt that something needed to be done. If it were one of my children, I would want something to be done."
State troopers said 26-year-old Tracy Isbell, of Covington, Ga., was driving a white pickup truck and hit 30-year-old Joseph Bastian, of Jacksonville, at the intersection of Southside and Atlantic boulevards just before 8 p.m.
Investigators said witnesses told them Isbell was driving erratically down Southside before hitting a curb, a yield sign, and then the pedestrian.
After realizing he had two flat tires, Isbell pulled into a Chick-fil-A restaurant on the corner of Southside and Atlantic, police said. According to authorities, he tried to leave, but was stopped by Avery, who police say detained Isbell at gunpoint until police arrived.
"He wanted to get up and leave," Avery said. "He said he did not do anything wrong and he wanted to leave."
Police said Isbell resisted arrest when officers arrived. According to officers, Isbell appeared "extremely intoxicated," and drugs and a weapon were found in his truck.
The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating whether alcohol was a factor in the crash. At his first appearance in court Thursday afternoon, Isbell told a judge he was only smoking a little bit of marijuana and having a good time.
Bastian remains at Shands Jacksonville Medical Center with serious injuries.
Michael McDill, a registered nurse, stopped to help him at the scene on his way home from work.
"He was just arms out, legs twisted over. I knew he was dead," McDill said. "He must have flown 20-25 feet from where he was hit. His backpack maybe 20 feet this way and he was in the middle of an intersection, just a pool of blood under his head. And when he opened his eyes, I said, 'Thank you, Jesus.'"
At that time, McDill said, others came to help.
"Found out three of us were nurses that happened to be there and see the whole thing, and there happened to be an ambulance right around the corner who saw it or heard it," McDill said. "And before people could dial 911, there was an ambulance to get him. So this gentleman had angels watching over him."
As for Avery, when asked if he thought twice before getting involved, he said not at the time.
"I guess adrenalin kicks in and it takes over your body," Avery said. "Afterwards, when the police got there, I was very relieved and very nervous about the situation there. But when it happened, I was thinking about the gentleman that got hit and wanted to make sure whoever hit him, hurt him was caught."
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