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DUI Suspect Flees Accident – Injured in Second Collision

BROOKSVILLE – Around 7:00 p.m. Friday evening, Fire Rescue responded to Cortez Blvd, east of Sunshine Grove Road, after reports of a hit and run crash, involving three vehicles.

We talked to one of the drivers, Marina Johnson, who says she was sitting in her Cadillac Escalade with her husband, when she looked back and noticed a vehicle not slowing down. Johnson says, “I knew the car behind me was going to get hit… I had about a car length between me and the car in front of me, so I was able to move up a bit, to try and soften the impact.” Moments later, the suspect’s vehicle collided with a Ford Focus – pushing the vehicle under Johnson’s Escalade. According to Marina, the driver who caused the accident did not stop and fled the scene in a white Chevy Lumina. Marina, her Husband and the occupants of the Ford Focus, including one child, were not injured.

Authorities began searching for the suspect, but before they could locate him, another accident was reported at the intersection of Cortez Blvd and Candia Street, involving the same vehicle.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, 46-year-old Donald Joseph Verrecchio, of 13159 Don Loop, collided with a disabled vehicle, parked on the side of Cortez Blvd. Verrecchio and his passenger, 34-year-old Theresa Marie Vandenbos, both sustained injuries and were transported to Bayonet Point Hospital for treatment. Verrecchcio was released from the hospital yesterday and booked into the Hernando County Jail. Verrecchio faces charges of Leaving the Scene of an Accident and Introducing Contraband into a Corrections Facility. The FHP has also cited Verrecchio with Careless Driving, No Proof of Insurance, and No Registration.

Officials say Verrecchio was under the influence of drugs and or alcohol, but no tests were given at the time of accident. It is not known at this time if Verrecchio will face additional charges. 

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