Investigators encourage any tips about Fort Myers deadly hit-and-run

Published: January 28, 2021 5:19 PM EST
Updated: January 29, 2021 1:44 PM EST

A manhunt is underway for the driver of an SUV that hit and killed a man in Southwest Florida, and investigators want any tips they can get to find the person who left a victim to die.

Fort Myers Police Department is searching for the suspect of the hit-and-run that claimed the life of 74-year-old Paul Richard Hanson Jan. 23.

The Ford Expedition that is connected to the deadly crash was recovered Wednesday by police after it was found at the Parker Lakes community in south Fort Myers. Crime Stoppers received a tip that led police to the suspect vehicle, and they bet people also know how to help investigators find the driver responsible.

Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers is willing to award tipsters for information that leads to finding the hit-and-run driver.

It’s almost a week after the deadly crash at the intersection with Fowler Street and Carrell Road, and the driver who kept going after Hanson was hit has not been named or found by police.

A family is grieving the death of their father and are desperate for answers as to who left him on the road to die.

“My family is heartbroken that someone is responsible for killing my father and did not even stop to help,” Hanson’s daughter shared with WINK News in a statement. “My father was funny, kind, caring and was very loved by so many. Myself, my husband and my children — his three grandchildren — will never get over this. We are asking the community’s help in finding the driver of the expedition and tracing their steps that night. Please call Crime Stoppers with any leads. Please help bring closure to our family.”

Hanson died when the driver of the Ford SUV ran him down while he was walking.

“This was someone’s grandfather,” said coordinator Trish Routte with Crime Stoppers. “This was someone that people loved. This is a family member that now they are going to have to go forward for the rest of their lives without this individual because somebody made the choice to leave the scene like a coward.”

Investigators say no tip is too small. Anyone leaving a tip with Crime Stoppers can remain anonymous.

If you have any additional information, you can call FMPD at 239-321-7700 or contact SWFL Crime Stoppers at 1-800-780-TIPS.

Police want to connect with anyone who might have had contact with the vehicle owner before or after the hit-and-run. Investigators say they can’t share the suspect’s name but say they know there are people with helpful information. See more pictures of the suspect vehicle on the FMPD Facebook post.

Routte told us, if the driver would have stuck around, maybe Hanson would not have died.

“Just by doing the one simple thing by staying on the scene, they could save somebody’s life,” Routte said.