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Truck occupant describes fatal Pasco hit-run

They were driving down U.S. 19 when Andrew Lawrence Lindenburg heard the bang. He knew his friend Scott Alexander Isenberg had just hit a man. Lindenburg told him to stop, but he wouldn't.

Lindenburg said he was in the passenger seat of Isenberg's 2004 Ford pickup truck around 9 p.m. Tuesday when the crash occurred. A pedestrian wearing dark clothing stepped in front of the southbound vehicle on U.S. 19 just north of Beacon Square Drive.

"I heard the thump," said Lindenburg. "I was screaming, 'Pull over, pull over, stop, stop, stop! We hit somebody, we hit somebody!' "

Isenberg continued to drive, Lindenburg said. Lindenburg said he got out of the truck at the earliest opportunity, calling authorities at 9:24 p.m.

The Florida Highway Patrol has identified the pedestrian as Joseph J. Vandoren, who had been trying to walk west across U.S. 19. Vandoren, 31, of Holiday, later died at the Medical Center of Trinity in Trinity.

Lindenburg, 54 of Palm Harbor, and Isenberg, 36, of Dunedin, got to know each other about two years ago, after Lindenburg, who works at J-Linn Motors in Clearwater, sold Isenberg a car.

"He's one of the biggest-hearted people," Lindenburg said of Isenberg.

Lindenburg said he had finished helping Isenberg move a bed Tuesday night, and the two men were headed home at about 45 mph in the outside lane of U.S. 19.

Since the crash, Lindenburg has a hard time regaining a sense of normalcy. "I can't close my eyes," he said. "Every time I do, I see a body."

Lindenburg said he has had no contact with Isenberg since the crash.

Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

Truck occupant describes fatal Pasco hit-run 04/12/12 [Last modified: Thursday, April 12, 2012 8:48pm]
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