Crimeline tip leads to arrest in OBT fatal hit-and-run, officials say

FHP: Driver who hit Margarita Contreras, 58, never stopped

Victor Baradit Fernandez is charged with leaving the scene of a fatak crash.

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. – The driver who fatally hit a 58-year-old woman in Osceola County in October and didn't stop has been arrested, officials with the Florida Highway Patrol said Friday.

After a seven-month investigation, FHP Cpl. Chris Durrance arrested Victor Baradit Fernandez, 58, on Friday. The Orlando resident is charged with leaving the scene of a fatal crash and driving without a license.

Margarita Contreras, 58, of Boca Raton, was pulled over on Oct. 1 on the side of Orange Blossom Trail near Osceola Parkway in Osceola County after she was involved in an accident. Troopers said Contreras walked back out into the roadway to find her wallet and was struck. She died at the hospital. 

The driver who hit her never stopped.

In October, Florida Highway Patrol troopers got an anonymous tip through Crimeline telling them the whereabouts of a car they'd spent a week and a half trying to locate.

Troopers checked out the tip and confirmed it was valid. They said it led them to the silver Nissan that hit and killed Contreras.

The windshield was smashed on the passenger's side, the hood was dented and the bumper was broken.

"This is a typical impact for a pedestrian strike," FHP Sgt. Kim Montes told News 6 in October.

On Friday, Fernandez turned himself in to a trooper at the Osceola County Jail, officials said. According to jail records, his bail is set at $8,000.

FHP officials said that without the anonymous tip into Crimeline, they would not have been able to make an arrest.

"FHP only received one tip in this case and it led us to the vehicle and driver," Montes said in a news release.

About the Authors:

Erik von Ancken anchors and reports for WKMG-TV News 6 (CBS) in Orlando and is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist in the prestigious and coveted "On-Camera Talent" categories for both anchoring and reporting. Erik joined the News 6 News Team in 2003 days after the tragic loss of space shuttle Columbia.