OCALA, Fla. – A 21-year-old woman was hit by a truck and left on the side of a road in Ocala, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
The crash took place at north east 25th Avenue and north east 45th Street about 6:30 p.m. Thursday.
"She was so little,” said Brittany Peepels, who was sitting on her patio minutes before Debra Mounts was struck. “She was so tiny. She was lifeless on the side of the road while a vehicle just kept on going.”
Added Peepels, “I heard a loud noise, like a ‘pop’ noise, and I thought somebody hit a garbage can, you know, on the side of the road.”
When Peepels walked outside, she spotted a dark blue pickup truck that had stopped — but the driver sped off. Troopers believe that’s the person who hit Mounts; the victim was on foot at the time. Investigators are now looking to find the vehicle and the driver.
A neighbor's surveillance video shows the moment authorities believe the truck drove by, slowed down, then kept on going. Seconds later, you see two people running over to help.
“I was so shook up at the moment, I couldn't even pull my phone out to dial 911,” Peepels said. “It was horrible.”
Mounts’ father said his daughter remains in critical condition with a serious head injury. He's trying to be strong for his family.
“It’s hard because it's hard to see her — she has all the tubes inside of her and everything,” Joseph Mounts said. “She's just not doing well. Tonight when I’m in my room, I’ll probably break down. So I try to be strong for everybody as much as I can.”
The Florida Highway Patrol said the truck must have clipped Debra Mounts with its passenger-side mirror, because the vehicle doesn’t appear to have any other damage to its body.
Joseph Mounts said he's upset the driver didn't stop, and he has a message for that person.
“I want them to come and be able to say, ‘It was me — I’m sorry about what happened,’ just for our own peace of mind, more than anything," he said.
Added Peepels, “My heart is so heavy. Not only did he hurt that girl and her family, it hurt me. I have kids. That was someone's daughter.”
Anyone with any information is asked to contact the Florida Highway Patrol Communications Center at 800-387-1290.