An Orlando man has been arrested after police say he struck and killed a pedestrian Wednesday night.
According to the arrest affidavit, police responded to a hit-and-run tip at 11:53 p.m. Wednesday, where they found a woman lying in the middle lane of South Kirkman Road. The woman, identified as 52-year-old Claire Gaeta, was transported to the Orlando Regional Medical Center for life-threatening injuries, and was pronounced dead around 3:30 a.m. Thursday.
A witness told police that there were three motorcycles that “seemed to be acting irresponsible.” The motorcyclists were stopped at the red light before witnesses say they sped off at a high rate.
Police say that the three motorcyclists appeared to be street racing, before one driver – identified as Stephen Penland by witnesses and a video of the incident – hit the pedestrian. The victim’s name has not been released.
A witness told police that after Gaeta was hit, Penland pulled over to the side of the road and the witness did the same. The third motorcyclist continued northbound on South Kirkman Road.
Penland, whose license is suspended and who does not have a motorcycle endorsement, told police that it was the third motorcyclist who hit the pedestrian.
However police say that damage to Penland’s motorcycle and witness statements were enough to arrest and charge him with leaving the scene of an accident with death, vehicular homicide and driving while license suspending causing death or serious injury.
Penland’s bail is set for $5,300.