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Families Remember Loved Ones Lost In Hit-And-Run Crashes

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Sgt. Tracy Hisler-Pace, right, opens the "Hit and Run, Bad 2 Worse" press conference Monday at 10 a.m. "They really need to think about what they're doing," FHP spokesperson Hisler-Pace said, addressing people who have run from the scene of a crash. Renee Bryant, left, lost her son in 2014. She came to the Gainesville Florida Highway Patrol station with a neon green sign, displaying photos of her smiling son, Dylan, and a message that read, "My son was alive and had a life. I held him in my arms when he was born. He was so special. Please help me help him!" (Giuseppe Sabella/WUFT News)
Sgt. Tracy Hisler-Pace, right, opens the “Hit and Run, Bad 2 Worse” press conference Monday at 10 a.m. “They really need to think about what they’re doing,” FHP spokesperson Hisler-Pace said, addressing people who have run from the scene of a crash. Renee Bryant, left, lost her son in 2014. She came to the Gainesville, Florida Highway Patrol station with a neon green sign, displaying photos of her smiling son, Dylan, and a message that read, “My son was alive and had a life. I held him in my arms when he was born. He was so special. Please help me help him!” (Giuseppe Sabella/WUFT News)

When Dylan Bryant was born on Jan. 29, 1994, his mother saw light.

From that moment on, Renee Bryant watched her son grow and dream.

She remembers when he recorded athletic events at North Marion High School and helped her bottle feed calves at their family farm.

But Monday, she stood at a press conference remembering her son’s life as Florida Highway Patrol Troop B joined FHP stations across the state in presenting “Hit and Run, Bad to Worse.”

The conference highlighted an increased number of hit-and-run crashes in Florida, along with the lives that were lost.

Dylan was one of those lives.

Bryant smiled through tears as she remembered Dylan’s internship with the Marion Education Channel.

“He had his own little desk and he thought he was really somethin’, you know? And he was so proud to have that job – he really was,” she said.

The 20-year-old lived at home, while working to lose weight so he could join the U.S. Navy. On Nov. 19, 2014, when he was just eight pounds away from the weight requirement, a car crashed into the back of Dylan’s moped, killing him at the scene.

He was Bryant’s only family after the death of Dylan’s father.

Bryant was adopted as a child, and her parents’ identities remain sealed in court documents.

“When he passed . . . he pretty much chopped down my family tree,” she said. “Every time I breathe, it hurts,” Bryant added, fighting back tears.

FHP Maj. Eileen Powell said hit-and-run accidents have worsened every year since at least 2013.

“Hit-and-run crashes are unfortunately one of the hardest things we do as part of the Florida Highway Patrol because, unfortunately, a lot of them we never solve,” Powell said.

Of the 92,000 hit-and-run crashes in Florida during 2015, more than 180 people died, according to an FHP press release.

Among those people was 81-year-old Wayne Corbin. On Jan. 24, Corbin and his wife returned from a trip to Savannah, Georgia.

Just minutes from home, a van drove in front of their car in Suwannee County, killing Corbin and severely injuring his wife.

To his wife, Anna, Wayne is not another statistic; he is the man she met in August 1954.

He is the man who served four years in the Air Force, managed a Coca-Cola plant, founded his own construction company and helped raise a family.

“This has been one long year without him,” she said.

His sister, Cecil Jones, said Wayne called her before driving to Savannah. She didn’t answer, so Wayne called a granddaughter to check on his sister.

Jones said her brother was always concerned about his family and friends.

Though she missed his final phone call to her, Jones had the chance to regularly drink coffee with her brother at the family farm.

“I had the privilege – really the privilege – of being with him quite a bit in the last few years,” she said.

Both Wayne and Dylan’s families share a common struggle: Their loved one is gone, and closure is yet to be found.

When the car crashed into Dylan’s scooter, it swerved off the road, smashed into a fence and rolled over. The driver then ran.

Two passengers were found in the van that crashed into Wayne’s car. The driver escaped, and neither passenger has cooperated with authorities.

As she addressed Floridians at Monday’s press conference, Powell urged people with information about hit-and-run crashes to call the Jacksonville Regional Communication Center at 1800-387-7290.

“Maybe you are the person that holds the key to helping one of these families find closure,” she said.

After the meeting, Dylan’s mother said she hopes to find the person who she said murdered her son – her family.

“There’s no more light where there once was,” Renee said.

About Giuseppe Sabella

Giuseppe is a reporter who can be contacted by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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