POLK COUNTY, Fla. – A Lake Wales man remains hospitalized after his bicycle was struck by a vehicle on Monday, October 12, 2020, at about 10:38 pm. The driver of the truck drove away from the crash. 26-year-old Joshua Mathews of Frostproof was arrested Wednesday evening and charged with Leaving the Scene of a Crash with Serious Bodily Injury.
The victim, a 25-year-old man from Lake Wales, was riding a bicycle Monday on County Road 630, east of Airport Road in Frostproof, when he was struck by Mathews’ black 2008 Chevy Silverado pickup truck.
According to the preliminary investigation, the victim was riding his bike westbound on CR 630 when Mathews’ eastbound truck went across the center line and hit the bicyclist. After impact, Mathews did not stop to render aid, and left the scene in his truck.
Deputies found the driver’s side view mirror at the crash scene along with some broken glass from a headlight. Those items matched-up with damages on Mathews’ truck.
According to statements made by Mathews to investigators, he said he had fallen asleep while driving Monday night and woke up from the impact. He said he knew he hit something, but was afraid to stop and report it because he had consumed several beers that evening and didn’t want to be arrested for Driving Under the Influence (DUI).
“The driver left the scene without even checking to see what he hit, leaving the victim badly injured on the side of the road. Fear of getting in trouble is no excuse. Leaving the scene of a crash is illegal, and as a result of Mr. Mathews’ decision to not stop and render aid, a human being was left out there seriously injured—he could have died,” said Sheriff Grady Judd.
At the time of the crash, the bicyclist was not wearing a bicycle helmet, and had no lights on the bike.
He was flown to Lakeland Regional Health Medical Center for treatment and is in critical, but stable condition.
Joshua Mathews had no prior arrests.