Driver charged after hit-and-run crash near Ruskin injures 3 kids

Troopers need help finding driver involved in hit-and-run that seriously injured 3 children

Update on Thursday, Dec. 28: The Manatee County Jail confirmed the pick-up truck driver suspected of hurting three children in a hit-and-crash was arrested overnight.

Billy Noel Catherwood, 63, is charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of a crash in connection with Wednesday's hit-and-run crash on Interstate 75.

Catherwood provided a breathe sample of 0.15, according to a Florida Highway Patrol accident report.

Two of the passengers inside a 2004 Ford Explorer were thrown from the SUV, according to the FHP. Ashley Sandoval, 6, is in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital. Sahirys Sandoval, 8, is in serious condition at Tampa General Hospital.

Rodner Sandoval, 10, was not thrown from the Explorer, but is in serious condition at TGH.

The FHP accident report said 35-year-old Jesus Sandoval, the driver of the Explorer, had minor injuries.

Catherwood, who was driving a white Ford F-150 pickup truck, traveled southbound at a high speed around 8:26 p.m. Wednesday on I-75 near State Road 674, according to the FHP. The Explorer driven by Sandoval and with the three children as passengers was traveling in the same direction in the center lane ahead of the pickup.

The F-150 ran into the back of the Explorer, which overturned in the median. 

Authorities took Catherwood to the Manatee County Jail.

Original Story on Wednesday, Dec. 27: Three children were badly hurt in a hit-and-run crash that shut down Interstate 75 near Ruskin on Wednesday.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a white Ford F-150 pickup was southbound in the center lane I-75 near State Road 674 about 8:26 p.m. at a high rate of speed. Meanwhile, a 2004 Ford Explorer driven by Jesus Sandoval, 35, of Ruskin, was in the center lane ahead of the pickup.

The F-150 ran into the back of the Explorer, which overturned in the median. 

Two of the passengers in the truck, 8-year-old Sahirys Sandoval and 6-year-old Ashley Sandoval, were thrown from the truck. 

Ashley is in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital. Sahyris and fellow passenger Rodner Sandoval, 10, are in serious condition at TGH.

Jesus Sandoval received minor injuries.

The F-150 fled the scene. It was found abandoned on I-75 near mile marker 229.

Anyone with information on the pickup driver is asked to call FHP at *FHP pr (813) 558-1800.

 

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