FHP finds car, not driver, in hit-and-run crash that left teen in coma

16-year-old skateboarder was struck on East Colonial Drive in January

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jennifer Bennett has spent sleepless nights by her son’s hospital bed since Jan. 29.

“It’s devastating, like I need to be woken up from a bad dream,” Bennett said. “(It’s) just sad that you know, all this is happening, and just so overwhelmed with everything but I have faith that he’s gonna pull through.”

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Her 16-year-old son, Joshua Sims, was on his skateboard on East Colonial Drive and on his way to meet up with friends at a nearby shopping center when he was struck by a vehicle at the intersection of Bonneville Drive, according to Florida Highway Patrol. The driver left the scene and didn’t report the crash.

“He did this a lot, it wasn’t anything unusual for him,” the single mother of five said. “Mistakes happen, and I understand that but I just don’t understand how someone could just leave after something like that.”

Troopers located a blue Ford Focus soon after the crash but are still looking through evidence to identify the driver.

“The vehicle was abandoned in a Circle K parking lot,” said Lt. Kim Montes, spokesperson for the FHP. “Since then we have been interviewing witnesses. We have been trying to reach out to the owner of that car, which is a female. We were told it was a male driving the vehicle that night. We have not heard from the female owner of the vehicle. We have attempted to make contact via phone and via going to the residence and nobody has answered the door and nobody has answered the phone.”

Bennett told News 6 that Joshua, a junior at Timber Creek High School, has been in a coma at Orlando Regional Medical Center where he’s undergone two surgeries on his brain.

“He has continued swelling on the brain that they’ve had to really closely monitor pressure on his brain,” Bennett said.

Authorities said hit-and-run crashes that involve severe injuries usually end up being fatalities.

“Anything over 30 miles an hour, we don’t know the exact speed that he was hit, is usually not survivable. So, we’re lucky that he is still alive,” Montes said.

Troopers said on average, they investigate or respond to 20 to 30 hit and runs a day in Central Florida. The majority of those are property damage cases.

A GoFundMe was set up by a family friend to help the family with medical expenses and Josh’s long road to recovery.

About the Author:

Carolina Cardona highlights all Central Florida has to offer in her stories on News 6 at Nine. She joined News 6 in June 2018 from the Telemundo station in Philadelphia.