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Daytona Beach News-Journal
Copyright 2006, The News-Journal Corp.
Date Saturday, June 02, 2007
Page 01C
Section Section C
Edition Final
Column
Story Series
Memo
Story_Byline SETH ROBBINS - STAFF WRITER
Dateline
Correction Date
Correction
Story_Headline Woman killed in hit-run was perennial visitor

Body Text Cynthia Dudley’s favorite vacation spot was Daytona Beach. Last week, she died here when a car slammed into her just a block away from the same sand she had tramped on as a child.

The hit-and-run driver fled the Atlantic Avenue crash and family members of the victim said Friday they are putting up money to help find out who did this.

Dudley, visiting from Indiana, was walking with her sister, Sherry Harvey, to a souvenir shop on Atlantic to buy shirts emblazoned with “Daytona Beach” when a white, midsize car hit and killed her as she crossed the busy street. The driver of the car never stopped, just turned off the car’s headlights and sped south into Daytona Beach Shores. Police have not found the car or the driver.

“At this point in time they are showing a total disregard for life,” Police Chief Mike Chitwood said. “They know what they did. They are hiding that car somewhere because they don’t want to be detected.”

Dudley’s family members have offered a $5,000 reward in addition to the award given by Crime Stoppers for information that leads police to the hit-and-run vehicle.

“This is probably the most horrible thing I have ever gone through in my whole life,” Harvey said.

Dudley, 58, and known to family and friends as “Cindy,” was born in Evansville, Ind. Her family began visiting Daytona Beach when she was 6 years old, always staying at the Castaways.

She always made sure to take at least one trip to her favorite beach with her mother, Diana, and her sister. They always drove here together.

Dudley liked to trek along the flat beach, chatting with strangers as the waves lapped against the shore.

“She and my mom loved NASCAR, and they liked the dog races,” Harvey said. “We always hit the flea market.”

It was the sisters’ appetite to shop that kept them out late Saturday night. After dropping their mother off at their hotel, Harvey and Dudley ran across South Atlantic Avenue to a souvenir shop. Dudley wanted a sweatshirt that said “Daytona Beach,” Harvey said.

She bought a purple one.

After they finished shopping, the pair decided to go back to the car to drop off their bags. Clear of cars in both directions, they walked west across South Atlantic Avenue, near Steve’s Famous Diner, Dudley trailing just behind her sister.

“I just turned to the right and there was this car,” Harvey said.

The car slammed into Dudley, smashing the car’s windshield and crushing part of the hood.

“It was an awful smack,” Harvey said.

Harvey ran to her sister, lying face down in the road. Dudley later died at Halifax Medical Center. Police described the car as white, possibly a Pontiac Grand Am, with extensive damage.

Now as Harvey, 65, prepares for her sister’s funeral, her thoughts drift to unanswered questions.

“I just want to know why,” she said. “Why did he not swerve? Where did he come from? Why did he not stop?”

Harvey doesn’t know if she’ll ever return to Daytona Beach again.


Anyone with information on this hit-and-run is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (888) 277-TIPS (8477). Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward.