Sunday, June 24, 2018
Public safety

Family hopes vigil will bring new information in hit-and-run death

PLANT CITY — Every afternoon, Marvin Daniels expects to see his son coming up the driveway after school.

The thought brings a smile to his face.

Then reality hits — again.

His son, Chris Daniels, is dead.

"It's like a punch in the gut when you realize he's gone," Marvin Daniels said. "And it doesn't end. Ever."

The victim of a hit-and-run in January, Chris Daniels died of his injuries nine days later. A passer-by found him, hours after the accident, laying in a ditch near Antioch Park, about a mile from his Thonotosassa home. His car, unharmed, sat in the parking lot.

With no arrest in the case, the mystery of who is responsible adds to the family's pain.

"The person who did that is still in our community," said Chris Daniels' stepmother, Amy Daniels. "Another person could fall to the same fate if we don't figure this out."

On Saturday, the family will hold a rally to raise awareness of their son's death with the hope it may prompt someone to speak out.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is investigating. Detectives have not yet determined the exact circumstances of Chris Daniels' death but know that he was either hit by or thrown from a vehicle.

"We have interviewed some individuals, but we still need anyone who may have information to come forward," said sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon.

Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Chris Daniels' family is selling T-shirts to generate additional reward money.

"There is nothing else we can do for him except find out who did this," Amy Daniels said.

The family's lawyer thinks an arrest may be close.

"I don't think law enforcement have a question of who is responsible," attorney Frank Miranda said.

Chris Daniels was an 18-year-old senior at Strawberry Crest High School. He lived at his mother's house but could often be found fiddling with his dirt bikes a few minutes away at his dad's.

During summers, he worked at his dad's storage manufacturing company. He planned to join the business officially after graduation.

"We were really looking forward to him and his brother taking over the company," Marvin Daniels said. "Now that he's gone, we don't even care to do it anymore."

For Marvin Daniels, it's hard to believe a death could take place in the small community where he spent his life — and that somebody could get away with it.

"They have to have a conscience," he said. "How could you leave somebody to die in a ditch?"

Times staff writer Danny Valentine and researcher John Martin contributed to this report. Shelley Rossetter can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 661-2442.

Comments
Authorities find

Authorities find "inmate" who walked away from Bilirakis event

The 23-year-old man who authorities said walked away from a New Port Richey political event while under supervision of a treatment center on Saturday has been located.The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office described Nicholas Moore, 23, as both an "inmate"...
Updated: 11 hours ago
FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

FHP: Wrong-way driver hit 100 miles per hour before sideswiping car

A Clearwater man who authorities said sideswiped a car while driving more than 100 miles per hour the wrong way on U.S. 41 was arrested Friday. Wendel Jamel James, 35, is charged with DUI with property damage, reckless driving and leaving the scene ...
Published: 06/23/18
Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

Tampa boy, 14, shot on bike, police asking for help

TAMPA — Police want to know who shot 14-year-old De’Nico Thomas after a night of playing video games.Thomas was at a friend’s home Wednesday night and walking home when Tampa police said he was shot, resulting in life-threatening injuries.As he faces...
Published: 06/22/18
Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

Clearwater police search for ‘Bic Bandit’ accused of stealing lighters

CLEARWATER — Police detectives are searching for a man coined the "Bic Bandit" based on reports that he’s stolen dozens of lighters from the same 7-Eleven.According to Clearwater police, the man has swiped the lighters four times in the last month, t...
Published: 06/22/18
FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

FHP: One dead, three seriously injured in head-on Pasco crash

DADE CITY — A Dade City man was killed and three others were seriously injured after a pickup truck and motorcycle crashed head-on Friday morning, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Floyd Williamson, 72, of Lakeland, was driving northbound on U....
Published: 06/22/18
Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Body of missing Hernando park ranger found in Georgia; boyfriend being questioned

Georgia detectives on Friday recovered the body of Mitzi Marie Babb, a 43-year-old Hernando park ranger who had been missing since Tuesday.Her boyfriend, arrested Thursday on unrelated charges, has been called a person of interest in her disappearanc...
Published: 06/22/18
A Pasco driver was annoyed another driver was texting. So he pointed a firearm at her.

A Pasco driver was annoyed another driver was texting. So he pointed a firearm at her.

PORT RICHEY — A 41-year-old Uber driver was arrested Friday after police said he pointed a firearm at another driver because he was annoyed that she was texting and driving.Philip Macchio was driving near State Road 52 and U.S. 19 around 12:30 a.m. F...
Published: 06/22/18
Deputies: Cheerleading coach sent explicit images to 16-year-old

Deputies: Cheerleading coach sent explicit images to 16-year-old

A 28-year-old cheerleading coach faces charges for engaging in "inappropriate behavior" with a 16-year-old girl, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Victor Martin Valenty faces 10 counts of traveling to meet a minor, distributing ob...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Suspect arrested in rapper XXXTentacion’s shooting death

Suspect arrested in rapper XXXTentacion’s shooting death

FORT LAUDERDALE — Authorities in Florida have arrested a suspect in the killing of rising rap star XXXTentacion, who was fatally shot in his luxury BMW electric car as he left an upscale motorcycle dealership. Dedrick Devonshay Williams, 22, o...
Published: 06/21/18
St. Pete police: Three lieutenants lied about their work hours

St. Pete police: Three lieutenants lied about their work hours

ST. PETERSBURG — Three lieutenants responsible for supervising the police officers who patrol the city were found to have been faking their work hours instead of showing up for duty on time.In some cases, the watch commanders submitted time sheets st...
Published: 06/21/18