LAKELAND — Video surveillance cameras from a local convenience store captured it all: a man parked at the store, getting out of his car and checking the front of the vehicle.
It was part of the evidence that the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said it needed to arrest Richard S. Schenfield on Friday and charge him with leaving the scene of a traffic crash that left a man dead, and failing to obtain a valid Florida driver’s license.
The victim, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office said, was William Franklin Moates, 51, who apparently was riding a bicycle when he was struck by a car.
It happened on Tuesday, July 17 around 1:30 a.m., when deputies got a call about a serious accident that had happened at Deeson Road and Cherry Road in Lakeland, where a car appeared to have struck a pedestrian.
Moates was found lying in the middle of the roadway by a citizen who was traveling west on Deeson Road, and stopped and called the sheriff's office. The motorist later reported to deputies that there were no other vehicles around when he found Moates in the road.
Deputies responded to the section of Deeson Road where the crash occurred. It's a dead end street without much residential traffic.
Deputies found a bicycle nearby, that had not been damaged. The victim had no identification on him, and had not been reported missing, deputies said. Moates died at the scene.
Donna Wood, the public information officer for the Polk County Sheriff's Office, said that while waiting for law enforcement to respond, the citizen who had called in the accident noticed another car approaching from the east, a 1997 four-door black Honda. It was driven by Schenfield, 21, of 5310 Deeson Road in Lakeland.
He was still at the scene when deputies arrived, Wood said.
"Schenfield was interviewed at the scene and stated he had left his residence at the end of Deeson Road a short time earlier to go get cigarettes," Wood noted in her report on this case. "He denied any knowledge of the crash."
However, during their investigation, deputies recovered evidence from the scene indicating the vehicle suspected of striking the pedestrian may have sustained damage under the driver’s side front wheel.
In addition, deputies later reported that they detected an odor of alcohol on Schenfield "and suspected he may have been intoxicated," Wood noted. "Schenfield consented to a voluntary blood draw, signed a Miranda Waiver, and was cooperating with deputies."
Traffic deputies inspected Schoenfield's car and found additional evidence under it linking him to the crash, Wood noted.
In addition, deputies recovered video surveillance from a Circle K convenience store on Deeson Road that "captured images of Schenfield arriving in his vehicle, getting out and looking back at the front of the vehicle, then entering the store," Wood noted. "While in the store, Schenfield purchased an alcoholic beverage and walked back to his vehicle. Before re-entering his vehicle, Schenfield can be seen examining the front driver’s side of his vehicle as if looking for damage."
He was taken to the Polk County Jail on Friday.
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