Lakeland Man Charged In Hit-And-Run Incident

A 24-year-old man has been charged with leaving the scene of a Lakeland hit-and-run crash that left a pedestrian dead.

Lester Wayne DeLoach, III, from Lakeland, is charged with leaving the scene of a crash without rendering aid, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said. Donald Branch, 42, was killed Friday between 5:30 and 7:40 a.m., deputies said. Deputies said he was walking near Kathleen Road and Tom Branch Lane when he was struck and killed.

The sheriff’s office received an anonymous tip Saturday, and a 1998 Burgundy Chevrolet Tahoe, with the Florida tag R1AYF, was found at DeLoach’s residence, deputies said. Damage to the Tahoe matched evidence from the scene, deputies said.

Deputies said Deloach and a passenger, Helen Young, were traveling Friday morning and knew they hit something. That evening the couple realized they’d struck a person, the sheriff’s office said.

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