Florida man hit pedestrian, hid body behind bait shop, highway patrol says


HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A Florida man faces several charges after troopers say he hit and killed a pedestrian and tried disposing of the body behind a bait shop.

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) said around 12:10 a.m. Sunday, 28-year-old Joseph Charles Strickland, of Weeki Wachee, was driving westbound on Cortez Boulevard in Brooksville.

As Strickland approached the intersection of Steuben Street, he hit and killed a 32-year-old man from Spring Hill who was walking in the road.

A release from FHP said he then drove the body of the pedestrian to the back of the Dixie Lee Bait shop and dumped the remains.

Joseph Charles Strickland (Courtesy: Hernando County Detention Center)

Troopers said Strickland called several friends and his roommate to help push his car back to his home after saying he had hit a deer.

After making it back home, Strickland spray-painted the damaged portions of his red 1995 Mazda MX-6, showered, and went to bed, according to FHP.

Around 8 a.m., his roommate went outside to check the damage to the car, realized it was not from hitting a deer and called law enforcement.

Troopers say the roommate’s call came in around the same time they found a human leg along the shoulder of Cortez Boulevard.

According to FHP, troopers, Hernando County deputies and a Pasco County cadaver dog later found the pedestrian’s body behind the bait shop.

Strickland was arrested by troopers and charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving a death, tampering with evidence, no valid driver license involving a death, and no insurance.

Strickland, who also has multiple warrants out of Minnesota, including an active warrant for two felony counts of animal torture, will have his first appearance in court Monday morning at 10:30 a.m.

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