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DNA connects driver to hit-and-run two years after pedestrian struck and killed

A mother said she never gave up hope that someone would be arrested for hitting and killing her son as he walked alon...

Posted: May 16, 2018 3:12 AM
Updated: May 16, 2018 3:12 AM

A mother said she never gave up hope that someone would be arrested for hitting and killing her son as he walked along a Citrus County roadway.

April 24, 2016 is a day Cheri Robertson will never forget. It is the day her son, Matthew Howell, 22, was hit and killed while walking along U.S. 19 in Citrus County.

"It's the start of justice, it's the start of closure," Robertson said. "But, for closure, I'm not sure I'll ever reach that. I love my kids. They are the reason I get up every day. This I won't get over."

The Florida Highway Patrol arrested Bailey Clair on May 11 charging her with one felony charge for leaving the scene of a crash resulting in death.

In a news release, investigators said Clair, "was identified as the operator of the aforesaid motor vehicle at the time of the traffic crash from a positive DNA analysis of blood discovered on the steering wheel of said motor vehicle subsequent to the collision. Further, the above-named Person: Suspect's vehicle was placed on scene from positive fracture comparisons from vehicle debris left on scene to parts removed from her vehicle subsequent to the traffic crash."

Robertson said she called investigators weekly for updates. She can't believe it took two years for investigators to make an arrest but she understands there are things that are out of her control.

"I also don't understand forensics. I also don't understand how her having a lawyer slows things down," Robertson said. "So, I understand there is a lot I don't get. So, I have to kind of look at it as they did and stayed on it the best they could."

Robertson wants her son remembered as a good person. And she has a message for families going through the same thing she is.

"Never give up," Robertson said.

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