Compassionate 22-year-old man killed after stopping to help stranded driver; suspect steals his car and flees
Dana Thomas Byrd was arrested for allegedly hitting and killing Dhimitri Andoni on I-275 and then stealing his vehicle to flee the scene on Thursday
No good deed goes unpunished, they say. While many may disagree, for Dhimitri Andoni of Clearwater, Florida, it was God's honest truth. The good Samaritan suffered unfair consequences after trying to help a stranger on the road.
According to a Florida Highway Patrol press release obtained by People, 22-year-old Andoni stopped his vehicle near downtown St. Petersburg on I-275 on Thursday night after spotting a driver who had lost control of his car and rotated to finally rest in the median of the interstate highway.
NBC affiliate WFLA reported that Andoni was recorded by a camera placed in his car as he stepped out of his 2015 Hyundai to lend a helping hand to the stranded motorist.
“Shortly after stopping, the motorist was able to depart from the scene and Andoni walked back to his vehicle,” the press release read.
But as Andoni was walking back to his car, 30-year-old Dana Thomas Byrd of St. Petersburg hit and killed him with his 1996 Ford, police said.
“Byrd stopped along the shoulder, approached Andoni and discovered he was deceased. Byrd then entered Andoni’s vehicle and fled the scene of the crash,” the press release further read.
Following the incident, Andoni's father found his son's car hours later via GPS tracking at Engineer Sales in St. Petersburg, where Byrd had reportedly abandoned it. According to authorities, Andoni's remains and Byrd's car were both found on Friday, following which Byrd was arrested at his home in St. Petersburg for leaving the scene of a crash involving a death and grand theft auto.
"On Friday around 12:30 p.m., an FDOT road ranger located Byrd’s abandoned truck and discovered Andoni’s remains. Byrd was found at his home on 51st Street North in St. Petersburg Friday night," the release stated.
According to the victim's Facebook account, he had studied at the University of South Florida before joining Wells Fargo, where he was currently employed.
Meanwhile, Byrd was booked on Friday, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office database. Records show that he was arraigned before a judge on Saturday and has a $100,000 bond, WFLA reported.
Since 2005, Byrd has been arrested in Pinellas County 16 other times on charges including retail theft, driving under the influence, child neglect, domestic battery and violating probation terms, according to the database.
Now, authorities are looking to retrieve additional information on the incident from the driver helped by Andoni just before his death. Anyone with related information is advised to contact the Florida Highway Patrol.