HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. – On Sunday at approximately 12:10 AM, a red 1995 Mazda MX-6, was traveling westbound on Cortez Boulevard approaching the intersection of Steuben Street where a 32-year-old Spring Hill man was walking within the roadway.
The car collided with the pedestrian and the driver, Joseph Charles Strickland, 28, of Weeki Wachee, traveled with the remains of the victim to the back of Dixie Lee Bait shop, located at 6408 Evanston Street in Spring Hill.
Strickland then removed the victim’s remains from the vehicle.
Investigators say that Strickland then summoned several friends and a roommate to push the now disabled vehicle back to his residence located at 6494 Evanston Street, explaining he had struck a deer.
Arriving at his residence, Strickland spray painted damaged portions of his vehicle, showered and went to sleep, according to Troopers.
In the morning, around 8:00 AM, the roommate revisited the vehicle and surmised the damage was not from an impact with a deer and contacted law enforcement which coincided with the discovery of a human leg along the shoulder of Cortez Boulevard, west of US-19.
Troopers arrived at Strickland’s residence and located the vehicle with severe damage while at the same time Troopers, Hernando County Deputies, and a Pasco Sheriff cadaver dog endeavored to search for the victim who was soon located behind the Dixie Lee Bait shop.
With the knowledge that Strickland also had a Minnesota warrant for his arrest for Bodily Harm Gross Negligence Felony Criminal Vehicle Operation, Troopers entered the residence to arrest Strickland.
FHP says that Strickland attempted to flee via the rear of the residence, but encountered Deputies staged at the rear of the home and who secured the assailant.
FHP Troopers then arrested Strickland and charged him with the Minnesota warrant, Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving a Death, Tampering with Evidence, No Valid Driver License Involving a Death, and No Insurance.
Cortez Boulevard (SR-50) was closed in both directions from Commercial Way(US-19) to the Environmental Center (just past the back side of the state park).
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