CCSO emergency lights not on at time of crash, FHP reports; witness describes teen's death
Two days after a Naples man died when he was struck by a Collier County Sheriff's Office SUV, Florida Highway Patrol officials reversed information that said the deputy was running with emergency equipment activated.
A News-Press interview with a witness about the death of Jacob Moreno, 19, backs up that information.
In an original news release Sunday, troopers said the Sheriff's Office vehicle driven by a 33-year-old female deputy northbound on Santa Barbara, south of Hunter, had its emergency equipment activated.
However, troopers have determined that the SUV's emergency lights were not activated at the time of the crash, officials said.
"As the investigation is still active, no additional information will be released at this time," the news release said.
The release confirms what one witness, Cassie Dessir of Naples, told the Naples Daily News in an exclusive interview.
Dessier said she was driving past the Circle K convenience store at 1998 Santa Barbara when she saw Moreno, identified as the victim on a social media site, running around the street.
"He had a phone in his hand, I was on the road where he was running, multiple cars were stopping, there were cars fully stopped," Dessir said. "I think one car hit him, but it was like a slight tap."
She said other cars were stopping and others were trying to get past Moreno.
"I turned around as well, and I literally saw the cop car hit him," she said. "She didn't have her lights on, so I saw that in an article and that was false. If she was reporting to another incident she didn't have her lights on."
Dessir said the deputy was going "extremely fast."
"I was on the other side of the median because I had turned around," she said. "All I can say is ... she hit him perfectly, like ran right through him."
She said she say Moreno's body double up and crash to the pavement.
Dessir said an odd part of the incident was that Moreno was not wearing clothes.
"He stopped right in front of my car and he had his hand on ... the front my hood," she said. "I was so traumatized because he was naked and he just didn't look there. It seemed like he wasn't there at all."
She said Moreno was just running up and down Santa Barbara.
"I don't understand how she couldn't have seen him," she said.
A Florida State University student, he had just completed his first year. A GoFundMe campaign said he was the only son of Carlos and Claudia, immigrants from Colombia, and was the first in his family to attend college.
As of 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, the GoFundMe has raised more than $28,000.
Friends of the family said Moreno had come home from college to celebrate Mother's Day Sunday. There's been no statement from the family about the crash.
The involved deputy is on paid administrative leave per agency policy, a spokesperson for the Sheriff's Office told the Daily News Monday.
Sheriff's Office officials haven't released any further details and directed questions about the incident to the Patrol.
Tomas Rodriguez is a Breaking/Live News Reporter for The News-Press and the Naples Daily News. You can reach Tomas at TRodriguez@gannett.com or 772-333-5501. Follow him on Twitter @TomasFRoBeltran.