Hit-and-run crash leaves 1 woman dead, Clermont police say

Incident occurred in area of State Road 50, Grand Highway

CLERMONT, Fla. – Police are investigating a hit-and-run that left a great grandmother of nine dead, according to the Clermont Police Department.

According to Clermont Police, Diane Craig, 74, was hit by a car while trying to cross State Road 50 at Grand Highway at about 6:17 p.m. Saturday night. They found her lying in the roadway and was taken to South Lake Hospital prior to being airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center. Officers Monday said she died of her injuries Sunday afternoon.

“We wanted to try and save her because you know, she impacted everybody’s life,” said her granddaughter Brandi Simmons, in tears Monday morning. “I’m sorry. She was the nicest person anyone could ever meet.”

In fact, Simmons said her grandmother had just gotten off work at the Golden Corral in Clermont and was crossing the street to sneakily try to buy Christmas presents before getting picked up by her boyfriend.

“She was trying to be sneaky,” Simmons said. “I hate that this happened to her, I really do. Around the holidays it’s the toughest thing, and to know she was probably going to get my baby a toy or something for my new house or something like that. Because she always put someone else before her.”

At the intersection Monday, more family and friends dropped off flowers and a pink balloon that read ‘We need justice’ after Clermont Police say the driver that hit Diane left the scene.

“Witnesses say after the collision happened this vehicle did pull over and stopped for some time and then left, however, we were unable to get a tag number,” said Sergeant Malcolm Draper with the Clermont Police Department.”

The vehicle left the scene prior to the officers’ arrival, police said. The suspect vehicle was described as a dark-colored passenger car, possibly a newer model Lexus, with front-end damage. Police say it was last seen headed east on State Road 50. Traffic investigators checked surveillance cameras from nearby businesses but with no luck. For any information, call the Clermont Police Department Traffic Division or anonymously through Crimeline.

“I know my grandmother being who she was, she forgives them. I know they are scared. I know they probably didn’t know what happened, who knows what their situation, but I already know that she forgives them,” Simmons said. “I just want them to come forward and let us know what happened. We forgive you, but now that you left our grandmother in the road to die, to die, justice needs to be served.”

The funeral home told the family Monday morning Craig had canceled her end of life insurance just last year, they have created a GoFundMe page to help with the funeral.

About the Author: