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Suspect Who Hit & Killed 9 Yr Old Boy Then Fled Scene Under Arrest

Polk County Sheriff’s Office Press Release


The driver who struck and killed 9-year-old Andres Martinez was located late last evening and has been booked into the Hardee County Jail. He will be transferred to the Polk County Jail at a later date. I do not have a mugshot for him.

His name is Gilbert Almaguer, DOB 1/14/1978, of 604 Avon Street, Bowling Green.

Here is his affidavit, and it is self-explanatory:


On 09/29/2023 at approximately 1659 hours Polk County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a vehicle verse a bicycle crash located on Hutchins Road east of Kristen Loop East. Evidence recovered at scene, along with video recovered indicates that a 2016 -2019 Chevrolet Silverado was eastbound on Hutchins Road. Pedestrian/ Bicyclist Andres Martinez, H/M 10/27/2013, came out of his driveway onto Hutchins Road heading eastbound to a friend’s house. The right front corner/ center of the Chevrolet impacted the rear of the bicycle. Upon impact Martinez was ejected and landed approximately 50 feet east of the area of impact. The driver, of the vehicle continued eastbound fleeing the crash site.

Parts were recovered on scene that come back to a 2016 to 2019 Chevrolet Silverado. Video was recovered from nearby residence on Hutchins Road west of the crash scene, which shows a red Chevrolet pickup eastbound just prior to the crash location. Video reviewed show there are no other vehicles that match the suspect vehicle. The driver/vehicle did not stop to render aide or never called 911 to assist Martinez. Martinez was pronounced deceased on scene by Polk County EMS.

A witness called and advised she observed a red Chevrolet matching the description southbound on SR 17. The vehicle had red what appeared like a K in the back window.

At approximately 2231 hours, Gilbert Almaguer called Hardee County Sheriff’s Office to advise he was a passenger in the vehicle that struck Martinez. Almaguer advised the vehicle was registered to his mother and located at his residence.

Hardee County Sheriff’s Office along with Bowling Green Police Department responded to 604 Avon Street and made contact with Almaguer and the red Chevrolet pickup. Hardee County Sheriff’s Office notified the Polk County Sheriff’s Office at which time members of the Traffic Homicide Unit responded to the scene.

Upon arrival I met with Deputies with the Hardee County Sheriff’s Office and observed a 2016 red Chevrolet Silverado in the back yard of 604 Avon Street. The vehicle was enclosed with crime scene tape. Detective Ralph Marshall of the PCSO traffic Unit walked up to the vehicle with pieces from the crash site. He visually inspected the vehicle and he observed that several of the pieces recovered from the crash site match the damage on the vehicle at this location.

I met with Almaguer at his residence and met with him. Almaguer was willing to speak to me about the crash and of his own free will went to the Bowling Green Police Department, which is located a short distance from his residence. Almaguer told me that a Hector Ramirez was driving his vehicle when the crash occurred. Almaguer stated that after the crash Ramirez drove to Bowling Green and then got out of the vehicle close to a set of railroad tracks located at East County Line Road and Central Avenue. After this occurred Almaguer got back into the driver seat and drove to his residence at 604 Avon Street. Almaguer stated that he did not know what Hector Ramirez hit and thought maybe it was a mailbox or post. He knows Ramirez but did not know exactly where he lived or had a phone number for him.

Almaguer stated that he let Ramirez drive because he was tired and knows that he does not have a valid license. During the entire interview Almaguer stated that he was not driving. He stated Ramirez was driving and his was the passenger.

After the interview was over Almaguer asked if he was free to go and wanted to return to his residence. Almaguer was taken back to his residence as requested. I remained on scene at the residence while a search and seizure warrant was being obtained for the vehicle that Almaguer was operating. While standing on Avon Street away from Almaguer’s residence he approached me and stated he need to talk to me. Of his own free will Almaguer stated that he was the driver of the vehicle and he is the one that hit the kid. He stated that he was sorry and just got scared. He explained that the kid came out of nowhere and he did not mean to hit him. Almaguer confirmed that no one else was in the vehicle with him and he was the sole occupant operator at the time the crash occurred. Following the crash he immediately came home and later after seeing on Facebook that a 9 year old boy died he called Hardee County Sheriff’s Office to report the incident.

Based on the before mentioned facts and evidence there is Probable Cause to believe that Gilbert Almaguer was in violation of the following Florida State Statue.

316.027 (2)(C) – Leaving the scene of a crash on public or private property without rendering aid (involving death), a first degree felony

author avatar
Carl Fish

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