Florida man accused of dragging pedestrian with car, hiding most of body behind bait shop: troopers

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A Florida man is accused of dragging the body of a pedestrian he allegedly struck with his car on Sunday before fleeing the scene and dumping most of the remains behind a local bait shop, according to authorities.

Joseph Charles Strickland, 28, of Weeki Wachee, was traveling on a road north of Tampa early Sunday when his car struck the unidentified pedestrian, 32, who was walking along the roadway, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. 

After the hit-and-run accident, they said the suspect traveled with the victim’s remains to the back of the Dixie Lee Bait shop in Spring Hill. Strickland removed the remains from his vehicle and called his roommates to help him push the car back to his home, telling them he hit a deer, according to FHP. 

Joseph Charles Strickland, 28, of Weeki Wachee, was traveling on a road north of Tampa early Sunday when his car struck the unidentified pedestrian, 32, who was walking along the roadway
(Hernando County Sheriff’s Office)

Once he arrived home, he allegedly spray-painted over the damage, showered and slept, FOX 13 of Tampa Bay reported. 

The next morning, Strickland’s roommate examined the vehicle and contacted law enforcement because he didn’t believe the car hit a deer, according to authorities. Around the same time, a human leg was spotted on the side of the road, near where the incident occurred, FHP said. 

Using a cadaver dog, authorities found the rest of the body behind the bait shop. Troopers also went to Strickland’s home and found the vehicle. 

The suspect attempted to flee, but deputies from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office captured him, FHP said. 

Strickland was arrested on charges that include leaving the scene of a crash involving a death, tampering with evidence, and having no valid driver’s license or insurance.

He also had a warrant for his arrest for bodily harm, gross negligence, felony criminal vehicle operation in Minnesota, FOX 13 reported. 

The highway patrol said he rolled a car into a ditch last year as he tried to speed away from a trooper, according to KSTP-TV. Strickland and two of his passengers suffered non-life-threatening injuries and a third passenger was left in critical condition, according to the station. 

It’s unclear whether Strickland has a lawyer.

Weeki Wachee is about 50 miles north of Tampa. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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