A driver charged with fleeing the scene of a crash which injured a mother and her daughter on Cherry Lake Road has entered a plea in the case.
Salvador Acosta Hernandez, 46, of Leesburg, entered a plea of not guilty this past week in Lake County Court to a felony charge of hit and run. He remains free on $1,000 bond.
The crash occurred at 5:20 p.m. Jan. 12 on Cherry Lake Road near Keystone Lane and caused traumatic injuries to 54-year-old Lisa Oliver of Howey-in-the-Hills, according an arrest report from the Florida Highway Patrol. Oliver and her daughter, who had been a passenger in Oliver’s tan Ford F-150, were both transported by Lake EMS to Ocala Regional Medical Center.
Their vehicle had been struck by a white Ford F-150 that had been traveling in the opposite direction and failed to maintain its lane. Both vehicles were towed from the scene and the investigation into the accident tied up traffic for several hours that night on Cherry Lake Road, which runs behind the Village of Caroline and the Village of Mallory Square.
There were three men in the white Ford F-150 when the FHP investigator arrived. They spoke no English and the driver had fled the scene. A woman who owns the the truck was tracked down and said the driver and the three other men worked for her. She served as a translator for the three passengers who stayed with the truck. They said the driver fled the scene and was picked up by another vehicle. They said he left because he was “afraid” as he does not have a driver’s license. They also indicated he had caused the accident because he had drifted into the opposite lane of traffic.
The investigator tracked down Acosta Hernandez’s wife and made it clear he needed to turn himself in. The investigator contacted the wife again the next day and said that Acosta Hernandez should meet him at the Lake County Jail. The native of Mexico showed up and was arrested.
Acosta Hernandez had been arrested Feb. 6, 2022 in Tavares when he was driving a van with inoperable headlights. During a traffic stop, he handed the police officer a Mexican passport and a Social Security card. A computer check revealed he did not have a driver’s license. He was arrested on a charge of driving without a license and booked at the jail. He was released after posting $500 bond. Four days later, while he was free on bond, Acosta Hernandez was riding a motorcycle registered to a 69-year-old woman. He was traveling 10 miles under the speed limit causing a disruption to traffic. The police officer discovered that Acosta Hernandez has never been issued a license. The arresting officer noted in the report that Acosta Hernandez “pleaded with me to let him go, advising he would do it no more.” A judge revoked Acosta Hernandez’s bond in the first case and he spent three days in jail.