Daytona Beach fatal hit-and-run investigated as homicide, cops say

Motorcyclist struck, dragged, killed in Daytona Beach

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Daytona Beach police said on Tuesday that the hit-and-run where a motorcyclist was struck, dragged and killed is being investigated as a homicide.

Police said Rodger Martin Jr., 41, of Bunnell, died in the crash, which occurred around 3:10 a.m. Sunday on Fairview Avenue in Daytona Beach.

According to police, a vehicle described as a possible red Dodge minivan hit Martin's motorcycle in the 100 block of Fairview Avenue and dragged him and the bike for about one-third of a mile until the vehicles became separated near U.S. 1.

On Tuesday, police increased the reward to $20,000 to catch the driver, saying they believe the crash was intentional. 

"Whoever was operating that van and is in that van is nothing but a coward and a punk," said Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood. "They basically executed that man on his motorcycle."

Police say the incident started before the crash.

"Our victim and his friend were in a fight with another group. A group of young people that they describe as a college age crowd outside of Cruisin Café," Chitwood said.

Once Martin left on his bike, investigators say the maroon van quickly followed.

"The van, we believe, intentionally runs over the motorcyclist, pinning him underneath the van where he died a horrible death," Chitwood said. "That man died a horrific death and the cowards and punks who were in that van need to be brought to justice." 

Police said the vehicle, believed to be a model year ranging from 1996 to 2007, likely has significant front-end damage. It was last seen heading south on U.S. 1.

"Obviously it's hard for me, but it's harder for me to watch his family go through it," said Martin's cousin, John Miller.

Martin's family has put up their own money as a reward for any information leading to an arrest. Miller has put up $1,000 and so has a family friend.

Anyone with any information about the crash is asked to call the Daytona Beach Police Department.

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