Seffner, Florida-- The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help in finding the suspect who hit and killed a man on South Parsons Avenue.
Just after midnight on December 28, a motorist called 9-1-1 to report a man laying in the grass along the east side of S. Parsons Avenue. Emergency paramedics responded and confirmed that the man, later identified as Thomas Woods, was dead. He appeared to be the victim of a hit and run.
So far, detectives have determined that sometime around midnight, Woods was walking on Parsons Avenue when an unknown vehicle struck him and knocked him to the side of the road. The suspect vehicle then fled the scene.
Woods was staying with his mother in Valrico just a few miles from where the accident happened.
"I am not mad at whoever did this, but it would be easier on all of us if that person would turn themselves in," said Woods' mother, Teresa Griner.
Griner said her son struggled for work the last couple years and did not have a lot of money, but this Christmas he tried to make it special.
"This Christmas was better because I think he knew he had a little bit of money coming to him," said Griner. "He went down to the Dollar Store, and when he came back he was all happy-go-lucky. He ran in the house, had a big bag in his arms, trying to hide it, then he went in the bathroom and come out and said 'Here, mother, Merry Christmas!'"
He bought his mother perfume.
"That little bottle of perfume he got me for Christmas will never be used I am going to put it up somewhere and go on one day at a time," said Griner.
Detectives have learned that Woods had a permanent address listed in Texas but appeared to be currently living in various places in and around various addresses in southern and eastern parts of Hillsborough County. It's still not clear why he was walking on Parsons Ave. at that hour.
While this investigation is ongoing, detectives are asking for anyone who may have any information regarding this incident or anyone who may notice any unexplained vehicular damage that occurred overnight to contact HCSO at 813-247-8200.
Anyone who wants to be eligible for a cash reward is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS (8477), report anonymously online at www.crimestopperstb.com or text "CSTB plus your tip" to C-R-I-M-E-S (274637).
Check out some of our most read stories from 2013:
#shortyellows: Florida quietly shortened yellow lights
Terrorism Warning: Memo says terrorists practicing dry-runs on Florida flights
Kittens shot: Officer shoots kittens in front of children
Courtroom apology: Woman apologizes for flipping off judge
Weird ice: Strange, giant circles appear on frozen pond
Controversial Club: College student organizes "White Student Union"
CFO Trouble: School administrative chief in trouble over her porn sex blog
Warning Shot Wife: Mother gets 20 years for firing warning shots at abusive husband
Science Arrest: Teen girl arrested over science project explosion
Wait, WHAT?? Dog shoots man in the leg with a handgun
Popular photo galleries:
Faces of Meth: Devastating before and after photos of meth abusers
Trayvon Martin Shooting: Trayvon Martin crime scene photos and George Zimmerman injury photos
Hooters Winners: Winners of the 2013 Hooters swimsuit pageant
Rejected: Funny Florida license plates rejected by the DMV***warning graphic***
Deadly sinkhole: Home collapses, man dies in giant sinkhole
Florida Sex Offenders: Look up sex offenders in any Florida neighborhood here
Restaurant Inspections: Look up inspection reports for any Florida restaurant here