1 dead, 1 injured in GNV hit-and-run incidents

One pedestrian died and a scooter driver was injured in two separate hit-and-run incidents in Gainesville on Thursday.

According to a Gainesville Police Department (GPD) release, the first crash occurred around 5:20 p.m. According to GPD, Daniel Lowell Screws Jr., 39, was driving his silver GMC pickup eastbound at the 2300 block of West University Avenue when he abruptly turned northbound onto NW 23rd Street and into the path of a scooter traveling westbound.

The scooter collided with the truck in the intersection and the scooter operator sustained serious injuries, according to the report. When officers arrived, Screws fled the scene, GPD reported.

Emergency responders transported the scooter driver to UF Health Shands Hospital, and the person is in stable condition.

GPD is asking anyone with information regarding Screws’ whereabouts to call 911.

The second collision occurred around 6:30 p.m. at the 3600 block of SW 34th Street when James R. O’Reilly, 19, drove his vehicle off the road and struck a UF student Prateek Sharma, 21, on the sidewalk.

James R. O'Reilly

O’Reilly fled the scene and continued southbound on SW 34th Street. According to the report, “Good Samaritans” at the scene provided CPR to the victim until emergency responders arrived. The victim sustained traumatic injuries and, after being transported to UF Health Shands Hospital, was pronounced dead.

O’Reilly’s vehicle was later spotted, GPD reported, and officers arrested him. He is charged with DUI manslaughter, DUI with damage to a person or property, and leaving the scene of a crash involving a death or personal injury. He was transported to the Alachua County Jail and is being held on a $320,000 bond.

The two incidents continue a lengthy trend of vehicle accidents involving pedestrian or scooter drivers, particularly on West University Avenue, which has led to community advocacy and a range of safety actions in Gainesville.

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Editor’s note: This story was updated with the name of O’Reilly’s victim. 

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