FHP: 19-year-old struck children walking in Orange County, fled scene

Girl critically injured; Travis Johnson arrested on several charges

ORLANDO, Fla. – A girl is in critical but stable condition after she was hit by a car Tuesday in Orange County, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

The crash was reported at 4:20 p.m. on Dean Road near Burl Way.

The driver, identified as 19-year-old Travis Johnson, ran into some nearby woods before an Orange County Sheriff's Office K-9 unit apprehended him, troopers said. 

The car and the license plate had been reported stolen, officials said. Johnson claimed he bought the 2001 Ford Explorer for $300, according to authorities.

Johnson had active warrants out for his arrest and will face multiple charges in connection with Tuesday's incident, officials said.

FHP Sgt. Kim Montes said officials believe Johnson was trying to pass another vehicle when he steered onto the sidewalk and hit a girl who was walking home from school.

Jackson Wells, a 15-year-old boy walking with the girl was grazed, but not seriously injured, Montes said.

"This could have been much more serious, and we could have had two fatalities here if this had turned a different way," Montes said.

The girl regained consciousness and is being treated at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, officials said.

Wells said he was on the sidewalk with his best friend and walking home from school when a vehicle swerved off the road.

"I hear the swerving, I turn around to see what it is, and he's just coming straight at me," Wells said.

"When the car came, all I was thinking was, 'Oh my God. I'm going to die if I don't do something,'" Wells said. "And then I saw my friend get swept up and I was like, 'Oh, no.'"

With little time to react, Wells said he was able to dive out of the way, but his friend was hit by the oncoming vehicle.

"The car hit the sidewalk, flipped over and hit my friend Jocelyn and my bike," Wells said. "I saw her (and) she wasn't moving at first. I thought she died."

Wells said he called his mother, who rushed to the crash scene as emergency vehicles arrived.

"I'm very angry," Viva Desensi said.  "Why would (the driver) run like that? Why did you run from that little girl? Why did you run from her? You saw her lying there, bleeding. Why would you do that?”

Johnson is being held at the Orange County Jail.

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