Polk Officers Arrest Man In Connection To Fatal Hit And Run

Suspect Arrested In Hit In Run That Killed Mother Of Two

An anonymous tip to Heartland Crime Stoppers led Polk County Sheriff officers to the arrest of a man accused of hitting and killing a mother of two and seriously injuring an officer.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Charles Lewis, 71, was arrested in connection with the death of Jessica Enchautegui of Tampa and injuries suffered by Polk County sheriff’s Deputy Adam Pennell.

Photo: WFLA
Photo: WFLA

Lewis told investigators that he had drank beer at a party prior to the incident and that he was driving the pickup truck that hit Enchautegui and Pennell.

He said he drove into the median to avoid hitting the deputy’s patrol car. He also said he knew he hit something, but didn’t realize it was two people.

Lewis asked for the victims to forgive him, but Judd said it was too late for that.

A Fatal Hit-And-Run Leaves One Deputy Seriously Injured

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal hit-and-run that left one deputy seriously injured early Saturday morning.

Officials say a Polk County Sheriff’s Deputy and a 33-year-old woman were standing in the grass median when they were struck just after 12:30 a.m. Saturday. The deputy suffered serious injuries and the woman died from injuries of the hit-and-run crash.

Authorities are seeking the public’s help in finding the vehicle that committed this crime. The car sped away from the scene on State Road 60 in the Lake Wales area.

The deputy, Polk County Sheriff Adam Pennell, is assigned to the Southeast District. He was dispatched at about 12:40 a.m. to a call of service when he saw a woman standing in the grass median on his route westbound on State Road 60.

Deputy Adam Pennell. Photo: ABC Action News.
Deputy Adam Pennell. Photo: ABC Action News.

Pennell parked his patrol car in the inside lane of S.R. 60 between Sam Keen and Tiger Lake roads and activated the patrol cruiser’s emergency lights.

Upon stepping out of his vehicle to talk to the woman he discovered Jessica Enchautegui-Otero of Tampa had struck a tree and was injured.

Her gray 2009 Toyota Matrix had left the road and crashed against a tree. Enchautegui-Otero walked out to S.R. 60 to flag down someone to help.

Pennell called for paramedics to treat Enchautegui-Otero. Before the paramedics could arrive, and unknown vehicle heading westbound on S.R. 60 left the road and drove through the grass median striking Deputy Pennell and Enchautegui-Otero before speeding away from the scene.

Photo: ABC Action News

Pennell and Enchautegui-Otero were found by first responders lying on the grass and were taken to area hospitals. Pennell is listed in serious condition at Lakeland Regional Health hospital. Enchautegui-Otero was pronounced dead at Lake Wales Medical Center.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with knowledge of the hit-and-run crash or who may have seen anything suspicious in the area of S.R. 60 and Sam Keen and Tiger Lake roads to contact the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at (863) 298-6200.

There is a $3,000 cash reward from Heartland Crime Stoppers and Polk sheriff’s office for information leading to an arrest in the fatal hit-and-run in Lake Wales. To remain anonymous call Heartland Crime Stoppers at 1-800-226-TIPS (8477).