A Weeki Wachee man is being held in the Hernando County Detention Center after being arrested on multiple charges including fatally striking a pedestrian then attempting to conceal his remains.
According to a Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) report, 28-year-old Joseph Charles Strickland was driving his red 1995 Mazda MX-6, sedan westbound on Cortez Boulevard toward the Steuben Street intersection just after midnight on June 6, when his vehicle collided with a man walking in the roadway killing him.
Strickland then allegedly loaded the remains of the 32-year-old Spring Hill man into his car and drove to the rear of the Dixie Lee Bait Shop at 6408 Evanston St. in Spring Hill where he removed the man’s remains.
According to the FHP, Strickland then allegedly solicited several friends including his roommate to push his then-disabled vehicle back to his residence at 6494 Evanston St. claiming that the car had been damaged in a collision with a deer.
Strickland later used spray paint to repair the damaged portions of his vehicle then took a shower and went to sleep, the FHP report said.
The following morning, Strickland’s roommate notified law enforcement authorities about the incident, telling them that he doubted the impact with a deer really caused the vehicle’s damage. At the same time, investigators discovered a human leg along the shoulder of Cortez Boulevard, west of US-19.
While Troopers arrived at Strickland’s home and located the damaged car, other Troopers along with Deputies from the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office and a cadaver dog from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office searched for and subsequently found the pedestrian’s remains behind the Dixie Lee Bait Shop.
Acting on an outstanding arrest warrant from Minnesota for Bodily Harm, Gross Negligence Felony Criminal Vehicle Operation, FHP Troopers entered the residence to arrest Strickland. Deputies stationed at the home’s rear entrance stopped him when he tried to flee.
The Troopers subsequently arrested Strickland on the Minnesota charges, and also charged him with Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving a Death, Tampering with Evidence, Having No Valid Driver License Involving a Death and Having No Insurance.
He was booked into the Hernando County Detention Center.
The case remains pending.