WALTON COUNTY, Fla. – A Walton County woman has been found guilty of a hit-and-run that killed an Inlet Beach man.
Ginger Bowden Madden, State Attorney for the First Judicial Circuit of Florida, announced that a Walton County jury found Sheila Barger, 42, guilty of leaving the scene of a crash involving death.
According to evidence presented during the trial, on May 31, 2021, Barger hit a pedestrian around 4 a.m. on Highway 98 in Inlet Beach and left the scene. The man suffered a broken leg when struck by the Barger’s driver-side fog light, and he was propelled onto the vehicle, where his head reportedly impacted and busted the driver’s side windshield, breaking the glass.
During the crash, pieces of Barger’s vehicle, including her driver’s side rearview mirror, were said to have been left behind at the scene.
Investigators from the Floria Highway Patrol (FHP) said they were able to track down the vehicle’s make, model, and color based on the recovered vehicle parts.
Hours later, the FHP said it discovered Barger’s vehicle parked less than two miles from the crash in a nearby apartment complex parking lot with damage consistent with the victim’s injuries and the car parts left on the scene.
Barger reportedly admitted to driving and being involved in a crash and failing to report the impact, but she claimed she thought she hit a deer, went back to look for a deer, and couldn’t find one, so she went home to sleep.
Barger also is said to have admitted to drinking alcohol the evening before the crash but said she was OK to drive. Barger’s vehicle reportedly had a half-empty bottle of rum and plastic cups.
Evidence revealed that the victim’s DNA matched the blood recovered from Barger’s windshield. A credit card belonging to the victim was recovered near the side view mirror left on the scene, and other personal effects from the victim were scattered in the roadway and median where the victim’s body was recovered.
Barger was arrested on the warrant for this case on December 5, 2022.
Circuit Court Judge Kelvin Wells remanded Barger into custody and set her sentencing for December 5, 2023.
The Florida Highway Patrol conducted the investigation and arrest with assistance from the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant State Attorney Angela Liles prosecuted the case. Please contact Ms. Liles at (850) 892-8080 for further information.