A 22-year-old Lakeland man is facing charges after fleeing a fatal traffic crash Saturday night.
Keith Michael Richardson was riding his bike along State Road 60 near the intersection of Old Bartow Rd. at approximately 7:30 p.m. when he was hit.
The 32-year-old Lake Wales man was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to a Polk County Sheriff's Office report Vonterrious Latron West struck the bicycle with his 2001 Chrysler 300 but failed to stop. Deputies began searching the area and spoke to a witness who saw West exit his vehicle.
The witness said West checked for damage, got back in the car and took off. Deputies located West on SR 60 just west of Bartow and conducted a traffic stop.
West was cooperative and gave a statement to deputies after he was read his rights. The Lakeland man said he knew he hit something but thought it was an animal or something.
He was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving a death. West did not display any obvious signs of impairment.
A follow-up investigation on Richardson turned up that he and his girlfriend had gotten into an argument just before the fatal crash. Investigators say the deceased had been drinking alcohol and had called his mother in Mississippi saying he was going to ‘throw himself in front of a vehicle.'
Just before West's vehicle hit Richardson two others swerved to avoid hitting him. Investigators say that if West had remained at the scene of the crash he would not have faced criminal charges.