Suspect arrested in Volusia County hit-and-run

Police say 2 dead in apparent hit-and-run on SR-44

Published On: Aug 07 2013 06:56:15 PM EDT   Updated On: Aug 08 2013 12:33:38 PM EDT
Brian Kennedy
NEW SMYRNA BEACH, Fla. -

Police say they have arrested the suspect accused of fatally striking two people and leaving them for dead along the side of a Volusia County road.

Witnesses found the bodies of Savannah Jo Dejarnette, 26, and Zachary Tyler Kahle, 24, along the eastbound lanes of State Road 44 in New Smyrna Beach just after 11 p.m. Tuesday in an apparent hit-and-run crash, according to police.

[RELATED: 2 killed in Volusia Co. hit-and-run]

Ryan Gebo and his friend Josh Bowen were on a motorbike when Josh saw a hand nearly in the road and swerved to avoid hitting it.

"There was a guy laying there with his arm up over his head in a weird position. He was bloody on his face," said Gebo.

"I couldn't believe that somebody would just leave a person in that state like an animal," he said.

Gebo and Bowen then called 911 and lead investigators to the bodies.

New Smyrna Beach police arrested 37-year-old Brian Kennedy late Wednesday afternoon for allegedly hitting Dejarnette and Kahle, killing them and then leaving the scene of the accident.

Police said they called Kennedy first before he decided to turn himself in. He'll make his first appearance in court at 1:30 p.m. If convicted, Kennedy could face up to 30 years in prison.

Local 6 checked and found Kennedy has a long record of traffic violation including driving on a suspended license.

Matthew Dejarnette said he is still stunned. He visited the scene where his daughter, Savannah, and her boyfriend, Zachary, were killed.

Police said a citizen noticed the extensive damage to Kennedy's van and reported it. It had a busted windshield and a dented hood.

Police say the two victims either had car trouble or ran out of gas. They were walking east on State Road 44 when police said Kennedy hit them and kept going.

Savannah's grandmother said her heart is broken.

"I don't know how anybody could do this, and just leave them laying there and keep on going," she said.

"What if Savannah was still living when it happened?" said Peggy Stickney, Savannah's mother. "If that guy would have stopped, maybe she still would be alive."

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