Reward offered for info on fatal hit-and-run in Clermont

Incident occurred in area of State Road 50 on Nov. 21

CLERMONT, Fla. – A reward was offered for information on the fatal hit-and-run crash from Nov. 21 in Clermont.

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Officers said the crash 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. on Nov. 21. They found her lying in the roadway and was taken to South Lake Hospital prior to being airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center. Officers said she died of her injuries on Nov. 22.

“We wanted to try and save her because you know, she impacted everybody’s life,” said her granddaughter Brandi Simmons, in tears on Nov. 23. “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.”

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.

“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.”

Crimeline is offering a $5,000 reward for information on the incident, the number for the tipline is 800-423-TIPS.

“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 Craig had canceled her end of life insurance just last year, they have created a GoFundMe page to help with the funeral.