Riverhead native in critical condition after hit and run

COURTESY PHOTO | Ashley Johnson with her father Dwayne in the Tampa airport about two weeks before the accident.

A Riverhead native is in critical condition after a hit and run accident in Tampa, Fla. last week, Florida Highway Patrol said.

Ashley Johnson, 23, a former Riverhead High School student, was struck by a red pick-up truck June 6 while crossing a major highway in Tampa about 11:45 p.m., according to a report.

She was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa where she is currently in critical condition with severe head trauma, according to family.

“She has bleeding on the brain and her left arm is fractured in three different places,” said Shelby Block, Ms. Johnson’s step-mother.

Ms. Block flew to Florida following accident with Ms. Johnson’s father, Dwayne Johnson.

Ms. Johnson, who moved to Tampa two years ago, was walking back from a Wal-Mart store next to the highway at the time of the accident, Ms. Block said.

Ms. Johnson was walking southeast across the southbound lanes of Dale Mabry Highway, a six-lane highway just south of Waters Avenue, said Sgt. Steve Gaskins of Florida Highway Patrol. The pick-up truck was traveling southbound on Dale Mabry Highway and hit Ms. Johnson, according to a report.

The driver of the pick-up drove off, leaving Ms. Johnson injured on the inside lane of the highway, according to a report. Ms. Johnson was not using a crosswalk.

A witness to the accident told Ms. Johnson’s family the driver of the pick-up did not hit the brakes, and that Ms. Johnson was pushed under the vehicle, Ms. Block said.

Florida Highway Patrol officials are still looking for the vehicle.

“We have received no leads in this case to date,” Sgt. Gaskins said.

The Johnson family is asking the public to help locate the driver.

“If anybody could just pass the word along to any family members that live in the area,” Ms. Block said. “If they know anyone with a red pick-up with passenger side damage, let it be known.”

They have created an online guestbook for supporters to share thought and prayers for Ms. Johnson.

Ms. Johnson was described as “a beautiful girl inside and out,” said Fran Johnson, a family member who created the guestbook.

“She is an inspiring artist with a great talent,” Ms. Johnson said in the online guestbook. “She loves to write poetry and recently started using her artistic talent to become a tattoo artist.”

“We’re hoping and praying to God up above and trying to have faith that this will all come to light,” Ms. Block said. “We’re hanging, we’re just taking this hour by hour.”

Anyone with information concerning the crash is asked to contact the Florida Highway Patrol at 813-631-4020.

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Google map of Dale Mabry Highway and Waters Avenue in Tampa, Fla.
Google map of Dale Mabry Highway and Waters Avenue in Tampa, Fla.