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Mom, Son Killed on Same Stretch of Road 8 Months Apart

No charges filed yet in hit-and-run that killed Tyler Pittard, 13
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2019 6:03 AM CDT
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Tyler Pittard.   (GoFundMe)

(Newser) – Tragedy struck twice in the space of eight months on the same stretch of road for a Florida family. Authorities say 13-year-old Tyler Pittard was killed in a hit-and-run Saturday night on US Highway 19 near Palmetto, when a Chevy Silverado hit a group walking on the shoulder and kept going, People reports. Relatives say Tyler's mother, Mindy O'Neill, was hit by a car and killed while riding a bicycle on the same highway in January, roughly a mile from where Tyler was struck, reports WFTS. Family friend Donald Charles Keefer, 47, was also killed in Saturday's crash and Tyler's aunt suffered critical injuries. The group had been walking to a gas station after a late-night fishing trip with members of Tyler's extended family. Relatives say Tyler and his two siblings had been living with their grandmother since their mother's death.

"Unbelievable. This cannot be happening again," says Bruce Branch, Tyler's great-uncle. He says the adults positioned Tyler closest to the ditch for safety as they walked. The Florida Highway Patrol says the suspected driver of the white Silverado that hit the group called authorities Sunday to say he hit what he thought was a deer around the time the crash occurred, Bay News 9 reports. Authorities say the vehicle has been seized and the driver is cooperating with authorities, though no charges have been filed yet. "We're doing everything we can to put the case together properly the first time. Sometimes the wheels of justice can be slow," says Trooper Kenn Watson. A GoFundMe campaign has been started to help Tyler's grandmother pay for funeral arrangements. (Read more Florida stories.)

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