Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Driver charged in May fatality

Florida Highway Patrol troopers charged a Big Coppitt Key man with leaving the scene of a crash in a fatal hit-and-run on U.S. 1 in May near Key Haven.

Joseph Byron Symington, 32, was in jail Wednesday in Broward County on a U.S. Marshal's hold related to a federal gun charge, said FHP Lt. Kathy McKinney.

The homeless man who died was identified, but troopers are withholding his name as they continue to search for family members.

"We have been searching nationwide, high and low for relatives," McKinney said.

Troopers found Symington's 1996 GMC Sonoma days after the wreck on Big Coppitt Key, with damage consistent with the injuries to the dead man, McKinney said.

Symington will be extradited to Monroe County once the issue in Broward is resolved, she said.

"The evidence collected from the vehicle and some of the statements from witnesses provided enough evidence to charge him," McKinney said.

Symington hit the man near the Key Haven neighborhood on Stock Island sometime between 5 and 6:25 a.m. May 26, according to trooper crash reports. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities believe the homeless man may have lived near an entrance to Naval Air Station Key West on Boca Chica Key.

Symington's bail in the Florida Keys will be set at $500,000, according to FHP records.

alinhardt@keysnews.com

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