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Suspect surrenders in fatal Seffner hit-and-run

SEFFNER — Thomas Dean Woods was about to start a new job.

With the money he earned stocking shelves at Harbor Freight he planned to get his own place, his mother said, or buy a car.

But until then, he didn't mind walking.

"He was used to it," said his mother, Teresa Griner of Valrico.

That's what he was doing late Friday night, perhaps heading home, when he was struck and killed, Hillsborough County sheriff's deputies said.

Woods, 25, had been walking north on S Parsons Avenue along the east side of the road when a northbound 1995 Dodge Dakota driven by Mac C. Joiner of Seffner hit him, deputies said.

A passing motorist discovered Woods' body just after midnight.

Deputies say that at about 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Joiner walked into the lobby of the Orient Road Jail and identified himself as the person who hit Woods. He was then booked into the jail.

Joiner saw Woods on the grassy side of the road but was unable to avoid hitting him, deputies say.

Woods had gone out with friends earlier in the evening, Griner said. She wasn't sure where he was headed at the time of the accident.

She is not mad, she said, at the person who hit him. And she thanks the driver who found her son. "Who knows how many people might have passed him," she said.

Woods had moved back to the area this summer, Griner said, and was working to turn his life around.

"He was supposed to start a job Tuesday," she said. "He was excited."

His nephew, 11-year-old Dustin Blanch, said he will miss Woods' jokes.

"He was my best friend," Dustin said. "It's not fair. His time wasn't ready."

Griner plans to preserve the last present she received from her son: a bottle of Lovely Lady perfume he bought her for Christmas.

"It will never be used," Griner said. "I'm going to tape it up and put it up and just try to go one day at a time."

Joiner, who was being held on $15,000 bail, faces a charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving a death.

Suspect surrenders in fatal Seffner hit-and-run 12/28/13 [Last modified: Sunday, December 29, 2013 1:16am]
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