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Fort Myers Beach bicyclist seeks hit-and-run witnesses

March 14, 2018
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

Betty Benito was riding her bike south over the Big Carlos Pass bridge early morning Friday, Feb. 16.

She remembers trying to stay on the right-hand side of the white line.

She felt a thud from behind. The next thing she knew, she was standing on the sidewalk talking to strangers. When she looked down, she was covered in blood and her shorts were shredded.

Article Photos

Photo courtesy of Betty Bonito

Benito had gotten hit by a dump truck, and the driver did not stop.

"Someone there was a retired nurse, she said we needed to call 911," Benito said.

It's been weeks since the accident, but Benito and her husband, Ray, have hit a dead end in finding the truck driver.

Benito suffered from a concussion and a broken tooth. She said the "fog" caused by the concussion is just beginning to lift, but the fire department paramedics who responded told her it could have easily been a different story. One witness remembered seeing Benito's bike fly up into the air, as high as the truck.

After being hit, 911 was called and the paramedics arrived to transport her to the hospital.

Benito remembers the retired nurse, whose name is unknown, telling her to be sure to remember that the accident happened at 7:40 a.m., and that she saw it was a big construction vehicle that looked to be headed to the staging area on Lovers Key. Some of the people who helped her said the vehicle was green.

The Lee County Sheriff's Office deputy who responded came straight to the hospital, though - they didn't go to the bridge to interview anyone, Benito said. According to the traffic report, the Sheriff's Office dispatched a deputy 20 minutes after the crash was called in.

Of course, she couldn't remember any details about the accident. After she was released from the hospital, Betty and Ray waited on the bridge to try to find some of the witnesses who had helped her that day. They managed to get two witnesses to give a report to the Sheriff's Office, but unfortunately one said the truck was white with a black bed, and the other could not recall the color of the truck.

None of the witnesses could make any kind of identifying statements about the driver of the truck.

"We think there has to be more witnesses, the Sheriff's Office never showed up to take their statements," Ray Benito said. "We feel like we've hit a dead end."

The Benitos are hoping if anyone remembers witnessing Betty get hit, they can step up and provide a statement to the Sheriff's Office if they remember any details, as it's their last option to try to find the driver of the truck. They've also been monitoring the bridge and taking pictures of the trucks that go by.

"Ethically, you'd think the driver would come forward," Ray said.



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