Florida Highway Patrol brings awareness to hit-and-run crashes

70,000 hit-and-runs recorded in state in 2012

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ORLANDO, Fla. - It's a crime where the weapon is a vehicle, and Florida Highway Patrol troopers say hit-and-run crashes have become an epidemic.

On Monday,  the FHP got together with families who have lost a loved one in hit-and-run crashes to bring awareness -- and closure.

The families have pictures and memories but little answers about the last moments of their loved ones' lives.

Joni Brown, Aaron Jones' aunt, told Local 6, "No feelings, no thought for life, and it's very painful to the family."

In December, her nephew, Aaron, was on a moped on Goldenrod Road when a light-colored sedan hit and killed him.  Three months later, Joni still knows very little about who did it.

"Aaron was a great guy.  He'd do anything for you (and) never had a bad word for anybody," Brown said.

In the state of Florida last year, there were more than 70,000 hit-and-run cases in which 17,000 people were injured, the FHP said.  In 168 cases, a driver killed someone and left the scene, troopers said.

"We can solve a case with the smallest amount of evidence, something we think sounds impossible, we need somebody to come forward," FHP spokeswoman Kim Montes said.

"Even if we find who did this, it's not going to help the outcome, but it will help us," Brown added.

The penalty for leaving the scene of a crash ranges from 5 to 30 years of prison.

Anyone with information about hit-and-run crashes is urged to call Crimeline at 800-423-TIPS.

Watch Local 6 News for more on this story.

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