Driver hits skateboarder with truck, airboat trailer and leaves scene, troopers say

Skateboard rider told suspect she was not OK and was calling 911, report shows

Dennis Hayward, of Cocoa. (WKMG 2021)

ROCKLEDGE, Fla. – A pickup truck driver towing an airboat accused of hitting a skateboarder in Rockledge was later arrested after troopers say he left the scene of a crash and injured the skater.

The 53-year-old woman said she was carrying a flashing light around 9 p.m. on April 22 as she was riding her skateboard south on School Street approaching Clearlake Drive. A dark-colored pickup truck with a trailer towing an airboat struck her as it passed, according to the Florida Highway Patrol arrest report.

The victim said the passenger mirror hit her, then the trailer struck her and ran over her skateboard. She told deputies that the driver, later determined to be Dennis Hayward, 47, of Cocoa, got out and asked if she was OK. She told him she was not and wanted to call 911, the report shows. At that point, Hayward got back in his pickup and left, she told investigators.

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A trooper driving on State Road 520 saw a vehicle matching the description of the one involved in the hit-and-run and stopped the pickup.

The driver told troopers he was at Lake Florence Boat Ramp from 3:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and was heading home when he got a flat tire. He said the boat had been in the water the whole day, although troopers noted in the report it was dry and the engine was cold.

The mirror that struck the skateboard rider was tucked in and Hayward told troopers he always keeps it against the truck when backing up.

Troopers arrested Hayward at 10:15 p.m. on hit-and-run charges. He was taken to Rockledge Regional Medical Center before he was booked into the Brevard County Jail.

Hayward faces charges of leaving the scene of a crash with serious bodily injuries and property damage.