HOLIDAY — A 26-year-old man whose car slammed into a tree, killing the passenger inside, was charged Monday with leaving the scene of an accident causing injuries or death, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Witnesses told the Highway Patrol that at 2:51 a.m. June 1, they heard the vehicle crash into a tree on Roselawn Drive near Lange Road. The driver, Brandon James Brunotte of 4005 Ironware Drive in Holiday tried to drive away, the FHP report said.
When he realized he couldn't drive the vehicle after the crash, Brunotte got out and ran north on Roselawn Drive, according to the report. Someone told Brunotte to return to the scene because his friend, Robert Wilson of Holiday, was badly hurt.
Brunotte returned briefly to remove magnets from the side of the vehicle. Then, he fled again on foot. A Pasco deputy used a police dog to track Brunotte, who was found at a home at 4004 Reggie Drive in Holiday, the report said. Brunotte was taken back to the scene. There he told troopers that he killed his friend and was an idiot, the report said.
Brunotte, who was taken to Tampa General Hospital for his injuries, was arrested Monday. He told a Highway Patrol sergeant that he had fallen asleep while driving 70 mph, hit a tree and "wasn't in his right mind." He is being held in lieu of $20,000 bail at the Land O'Lakes jail.