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FHP seeks tips on fatal hit-and-run in Shady Hills

SHADY HILLS — Rose Marie Porter had some thinking to do and went for a walk about 8 p.m. Tuesday. It wasn't unusual for her to take off, roommate Marie Silva said, but when 11 p.m. rolled around, she couldn't shake the thought something was wrong.

At 3 a.m., troopers were banging at Silva's door.

"From what the Florida Highway Patrol told me, she was walking on the street, headed to the store and she was hit and killed," Silva said Thursday. "You wouldn't do that to an animal. People treat their animals better than that."

Troopers are still investigating the hit-and-run crash that killed Porter, 54, just before 11 p.m. as she was walking along Shady Hills Road near Gifford Lane. The driver fled the scene. Troopers don't have a description of the driver or the car.

But they have some possible evidence: Small pieces of plastic, possibly from the trim or the mirror of the vehicle involved, were found at the scene.

Troopers hope someone will step forward with information to help solve the case.

Porter lived with Silva and her family on Bosley Drive, less than a mile from where the crash occurred. Porter was close to Silva's grandchildren: "They called her Rosie," Silva recalled.

Porter had two grown sons of her own. Silva said her friend had a funny laugh and liked to take long walks in the woods. Silva recalled how Porter didn't like taking pictures – "you'd have to get her on a sneak."

She also had her struggles: Porter pleaded guilty in 2011 to drug charges, and she sought help several times for mental health issues. Sometimes she would drink and take off, and Silva would worry, but she'd always come back.

But Porter was happy Tuesday because she learned her Social Security benefits were finally coming through, Silva said.

"She was a good person," Silva said. "She liked to help out with the gardening and the shopping."

Silva said she plans to create a makeshift memorial near the crash site. She figures her friend is in a better place now, but this will always be Porter's home.

"No one should be killed like that," she said.

Rose Marie Porter, 54, was hit Tuesday night by a vehicle on Shady Hills Road near Gifford Lane. The driver fled the scene. Anyone with information may call the Florida Highway Patrol at (813) 631-4020.

FHP seeks tips on fatal hit-and-run in Shady Hills 03/14/13 [Last modified: Thursday, March 14, 2013 8:57pm]
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