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OfcDave
09-02-2005, 03:12 AM
The first New Smyrna Beach, Fl police officer to die in the line of duty will be buried today (8-19-05), but investigators are no closer to knowing who drove the white truck that caused Officer Roy L. Nelson Jr. to swerve into a guardrail.

And the odds are that person will never be found, investigators said Thursday.

"We have had no tips called in to us," Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Kim Miller said. "We have nowhere to go."

This is the second time in 11 months a Volusia law-enforcement officer has died in a crash blamed on an unknown driver. In October, FHP Trooper Darryl Haywood died trying to overtake a motorcycle and a Porsche racing along Interstate 4. The driver of the Porsche has never been found.

Such crashes, in which drivers flee the scene, are the hardest to solve for investigators -- and are becoming increasingly common. Troopers are called to more than two dozen on a daily basis in Central Florida.

In both of the crashes that killed the Volusia officers, no one got the tag numbers of the fleeing vehicles, and there was no damage left at the scene -- which lowers the likelihood of their being solved to about 10 percent, Miller said.

When witnesses grab that critical tag number, the chance of solving the case jumps to nearly 95 percent, she said.

Nelson, 36, and his K-9 partner Ceasar died late Saturday while responding to a burglary call. A witness said a white truck, possibly a Ford F-150, pulled in front of Nelson's patrol car, causing him to swerve and hit a guardrail on the South Causeway on State Road A1A. Nelson, who leaves behind a wife and two daughters, and Ceasar died at the scene.

(Kristen Reed | Sentinel Staff Writer )

_Dave