SPRING HILL — David Smith was out walking with his girlfriend along the grassy edge of Landover Boulevard on Saturday night when the unthinkable happened.
About 8:50 p.m., a driver veered onto the shoulder on the east side of the road and struck Smith, pulling him away from Dannielle Gibbons and sending him to the hospital with serious injuries.
The driver never stopped.
Smith's family wants that person to do the right thing and turn himself or herself in.
"This was a devastating incident," said Michelle Russell, one of Smith's sisters. "I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but our family has been affected profoundly by it."
Tammy Smith, another sister, said she was shocked by the incident and the fact that someone could drive off.
"I just think it's disgusting," she said.
Authorities say the incident happened on Landover, north of Thornberry Drive.
A dark-colored, late-model car, which probably sustained heavy front-right and headlight damage, went onto the shoulder and hit Smith, 44, according to a Florida Highway Patrol news release. Smith was taken to Oak Hill Hospital in Spring Hill, then to Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point in Hudson.
Family members said on Monday that Smith had been taken off a ventilator, but was struggling to answer basic questions. More diagnostic tests need to be run to determine the extent of his injuries.
Smith's family said he is an outgoing and funny father of four children, who range in age from 10 to 21.
She said her brother is on disability and suffers from serious back problems. Before he was forced to quit, he worked as a mechanic and in construction, she said.
Russell said the hit-and-run accident follows another major blow to their family. Last month, their mother was diagnosed with an advanced brain cancer. She is in hospice care at home.
Tammy Smith the family is distraught.
"We're just about ready to lose our mother," she said. "It's just devastating."
The FHP asks that any witnesses to the crash or anyone with information about the vehicle or the driver call (813) 631-4020 or contact Crime Stoppers.