Why aren’t pedestrians safe on Anna Maria Island?
Why aren’t there better crime deterrents?
Or more lights and security cameras on the streets and bridges?
These questions come from a visitor with a crushed leg, foot and back after a vehicle ran him over and sped away from the scene in Bradenton Beach.
David Hargrove of Vermont was struck by a GMC SUV at 11:50 p.m. Feb. 25 in the 1000 block of Gulf Drive North between Summer Sands condominiums and the Gulf Drive Cafe.
The force of the collision stripped off the SUV’s side-view mirror.
Just before the crash, both Hargrove, on foot, and the vehicle were traveling north.
“It was very dark. I don’t remember much of any light,” Hargrove told The Islander in a phone interview from Vermont.
He was crossing the road to the sidewalk on the east side of Gulf Drive when a dark-colored SUV struck him below his ribs from behind. The vehicle then ran over him.
Hargrove noticed the SUV slowing down after hitting him, but then it sped away. He said that as he crawled to the west side of the road, hoping he wouldn’t get run over again, he noticed the vehicle had a “long set of taillights.”
Bystanders heard his cries and called 911.
EMS transported Hargrove to Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, where he spent five days on the mend.
The hospital discharged him when he was able to walk on crutches and travel, he said.
“I’m 36. I’m a carpenter. It takes me out of work and driving duties for my family for three months, plus physical therapy. And we’re not insured.”
Hargrove, his wife and 5-year-old son were visiting his mother, who owns a condo in Holmes Beach. They have since returned to Vermont.
He went alone to a Bridge Street restaurant for something to eat and drink while his family stayed at the condo. They were tired from a day on the beach, he said.
Trying to get back to the condo, Hargrove called the Monkey Bus, and arranged a pickup on Bridge Street.
But he became impatient and began walking north “for 10 minutes or so,” he said.
As for what happened next, Hargrove disagrees with a Bradenton Beach police report, which states he crossed from the east to the west side of the street.
He said he crossed from the beach side of Gulf Drive and said his injuries support his version.
It’ll be awhile until he visits the island again, Hargrove added, saying something’s not right in a beach town when a motorist can run into someone, leave the scene and not be held accountable.
“That someone can be run over and left for dead is not a comforting feeling,” he said.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Detective Sgt. Lenard Diaz at 941-778-4766. To make an anonymous tip, call CrimeStoppers at 866-634-TIPS.