VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. - A driver’s call to 911 Monday details the moments of panic that came after a good Samaritan who was changing the driver’s tire was struck and killed on I-4 in Volusia County.
Edward Keene, 41, of Orlando, stopped around 1 a.m. on I-4 east near the Dirksen Drive Exit in Deltona to help the man change his flat tire before a car hit Keene and the driver left the scene, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
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The driver with the flat tire called authorities in distress immediately after the crash, saying Keene was on his hands and knees when he was hit. The man said he thought he was going into shock after witnessing the crash, and couldn’t believe the last thing Keene said to him before it happened.
“The guy was changing my flat tire and he got hit by a car while I was standing next to him and I was talking to him and he was telling me, ‘It could be worse. You could be dead,’ and as soon as he said that, he got hit by a car. He got hit by a car,” the man told dispatchers.
The driver, who said in the 911 call that he is a heart patient, said he felt like he was going to have a heart attack.
“I think I’m having a heart attack, to be honest with you, ma’am,“ he said. “I think I am. I can’t breathe, my chest is hurting and I’m shaking. The guy’s dead and he’s laying in the middle of the highway. His wife’s about to get hit by another car. The guy hit him and just kept going.”
Dispatchers asked the man if Keene was still breathing, and whether he’d be willing to try CPR on him. The man said Keene’s wife was trying to perform CPR, but the driver knew Keene was already dead.
The man said the incident happened so quickly, he wasn’t able to get a description of the vehicle that hit Keene, and that he could have easily been hit, too.
“It happened in two seconds. If I wouldn’t have moved, I would’ve died myself,” he told dispatchers.
Panic could easily be heard in the man’s voice throughout the call as he struggled to breathe while talking to dispatchers.
“This is not right. He was a nice guy. He was only trying to help me. I feel so bad,” he said.
Troopers said a Volusia County deputy later found Fabian Anthony Thomas, the 37-year-old driver who they said fled the scene of the crash, at a gas station. Authorities said he was removing his license plate and placing his bumper along some nearby woods.
Troopers said Thomas told deputies he had gotten a flat tire and that’s what caused the damage to his vehicle.
"This man was clearly trying to obscure the fact that he'd been involved in a crash," Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Kim Montes said.
Thomas was arrested on charges of leaving the scene of a fatal crash.
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