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Woman Charged With Leaving The Scene Of Crash After Allegedly Hitting & Killing Bicyclist In Lakeland

LAKELAND, FL (May 21, 2024) – On May 14, 2024, traffic crash investigators obtained a warrant for the arrest of Cassidy Mullis in connection with the fatal crash which occurred on June 25, 2023, in the 3000 block of Bartow Road. Mullis was charged with Leaving the Scene of a Crash Involving Death (F1).  On May 20, 2024, at 10:30 p.m., Mullis turned herself into the Polk County Sheriff’s Office Processing Center in Frostproof, Florida.

The post-crash investigation determined the vehicle Mullis drove during the crash was a grey, four door 2018 Nissan Sentra. The vehicle was located hours later at a residence in Winter Haven and had damage consistent with the crash circumstances. A piece of the vehicle left at the scene was matched to the Nissan and DNA evidence located on the vehicle matched the victim, Paul Ruis, age 42, of Lakeland. Upon interview, Mullis admitted she had been driving her vehicle at the time of the crash. A vehicle inspection found no evidence of mechanical failure prior to the crash.

Based on the totality of evidence collected thus far, investigators determined that Mullis knew or should have known of the injury or death to Mr. Ruis and failed to immediately stop and remain to give her identifying information. 

This remains an open and active investigation.

========== Original Release ==========

FATAL HIT-AND-RUN CRASH INVOLVING A BICYCLIST

LAKELAND, FL (June 26, 2023) – On Sunday, June 25, 2023, at approximately 2:00 a.m., officers were dispatched to the 3000 block of Bartow Road for a hit-and-run crash involving a bicyclist. Upon arriving, officers located an unresponsive male who had been struck by a vehicle. Despite the efforts of first responders, the 42-year-old male was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Based on information gathered at the scene, officers believe the victim was struck and killed while crossing the southbound lanes of Bartow Road. Witnesses at the scene described the suspect vehicle as small and gray-colored. Just prior to the crash, the suspect vehicle had been traveling south on Bartow Road. After striking the bicyclist, the vehicle fled the scene, continuing south on Bartow Road.

The crash location was processed for the ongoing investigation. Hours later, the Lakeland Police Department received a call from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office with information about the possible location of the suspect vehicle at a residence in Winter Haven. With the assistance of the Winter Haven Police Department, officers responded to the area and found a vehicle matching the description provided by witnesses that had damage consistent with the crash. The vehicle was impounded, interviews were conducted, and additional evidence was gathered.

At this time, this remains an open investigation. Anyone with information regarding the crash is asked to contact Sergeant Dale Deas at [email protected]

Persons who wish to remain anonymous can contact Heartland Crime Stoppers:

 * Call 1-800-226 TIPS (8477)

 * From a cell phone, dial **TIPS

 * Visit the website www.heartlandcrimestoppers.com and click on “Submit A Tip,”

 * Or download the free “P3tips” app on a smartphone or tablet.

Tipsters will always remain anonymous when they send a tip through Crime Stoppers, and they are eligible for a cash reward if their information leads to an arrest.

This remains an open and active investigation. The victim’s name is being withheld in accordance with Marsy’s Law. 

author avatar
Carl Fish

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