A Florida man is accused of fatally striking a man who stopped to help a motorist on an interstate highway and then stealing the victim's car.
The Florida Highway Patrol reports that the body of 22-year-old Dhimitri Andoni was discovered Friday along Interstate 275 in St. Petersburg about 15 hours after the accident.
Troopers say Andoni stopped his car on the shoulder to assist another driver when he was struck by a pickup truck driven by 30-year-old Dana Thomas Byrd. Authorities say Byrd stole Andoni's car, leaving his truck behind, and abandoned Andoni's car at a parking lot. According to an arrest report obtained by Oxygen.com, Byrd "patted" the victim before stealing his car. A GoPro on the victim's dashboard recorded the events, police say.
Andoni's father helped track down the vehicle using GPS and notified authorities that his son was missing. A Florida Department of Transportation Road Ranger then discovered Byrd's truck and Andoni's body, leading to Byrd's arrest Friday, according to WTSP-TV in Tampa.
It’s not clear what happened to the driver that Andoni was helping in the first place or if they were present when Andoni was allegedly struck by Byrd.
Byrd has been charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving death and grand theft auto, two felony charges, according to online jail records. His bond has been set at $105,000.
Byrd has been arrested 16 times in Pinellas County since 2005, jail records show. Past charges run the gamut and include driving under the influence, child neglect, domestic battery and trespassing in a park.
According to the victim’s Facebook page, Andoni worked at Wells Fargo and began studying at the University of South Florida last year. People flocked to his page after his death to commend him for his act of kindness.
It is not clear if Byrd has an attorney to speak for him.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
[Photo: Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
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