HOLIDAY, Fla. -- A baby sitting on a woman's lap in a wheelchair was hurt after being struck by a SUV, which drove off on Friday night in Pasco County, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

  • Condition of 9-month-old girl unknown
  • Driver, pedestrians all from Holiday
  • Charges are pending

Just before 10 p.m., James Arthur Vermeersch was driving a 1998 Lincoln Navigator westbound on Bonita Drive, heading toward Holiday Drive, troopers say he didn't see 45-year-old Philip Clemente Altruz Martinez pushing Katharina Anna Martinez in a wheelchair, who had a 9-month-old baby girl on her lap.

The pedestrians, all from Holiday, were on the north shoulder of Bonita Drive, FHP investigators said.

The SUV's passenger-side mirror hit Philip Martinez, and the right front of the vehicle struck the left rear of the wheelchair, which caused Katharina Martinez, 25, and the baby to be thrown onto the shoulder of Bonita Drive, the FHP said.

The infant girl was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital, but her condition has not been released.

Vermeersch allegedly drove off, but a witness identified the SUV and remembered the license plate, troopers said. When a trooper went to Vermeersch's home, his wife told them that she was asleep at the time of the crash, but Vermeersh had been driving the SUV that evening, the FHP said.

A witness followed Vermeersch to his Holiday home, but the person didn't stay to see whether Vermeersch got out of the SUV "because he did not feel comfortable," the FHP report said.

Troopers tried to contact Vermeersch on Saturday and Sunday and learned from a neighbor that Vermeersch and his wife "loaded up some belongings" into the SUV and left early Saturday morning "and have not been back since," the FHP said.

No charges have been filed yet.