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20-year-old with suspended learner’s permit responsible for deadly hit and run, police say

Sebastian Michel Jean-Baptiste was arrested Friday for a hit-and-run crash on I-95 that killed a man last October, police said. (WPLG)

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – A man driving with a suspended learner’s permit was arrested after a year-long investigation into a hit-and-run on Interstate 95.

The victim, an Uber driver, was a good Samaritan who had stopped to help a disabled vehicle.

According to Florida Highway Patrol investigators, it was Sebastian Michel Jean-Baptiste, now 21, who was behind the wheel of a 2019 Toyota Camry when Pierre Michel Fortin was struck at approximately 2:06 a.m. on Oct. 31, 2019.

Jean-Baptiste was arrested Friday, almost exactly a year after the crash.

The crash happened on northbound I-95 about 300 feet south of the State Road 824 (Pembroke Road) overpass, according to FHP.

Investigators said Fortin had stopped his car after he saw that a Chrysler PT Cruiser was smashed into a concrete median barrier. After helping the motorist, Fortin was returning to his vehicle, but as he crossed the highway a vehicle hit him and kept going.

Fortin was killed. A passing truck caught part of the incident on its dash camera.

The driver of the truck said that the Camry initially slowed after hitting the victim, but then took off at a high rate of speed. Hollywood Police found the Camry abandoned along the inside shoulder of the Hollywood Boulevard exit ramp.

A receipt from a Walgreens Pharmacy on Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles Beach was one of the items investigators found in the car. Surveillance video from the store showed Jean-Baptiste leaving the store the night before the crash and getting into the black Camry, police said.

The passenger, allegedly in the car with Jean-Baptiste at the time of the crash, told police that two were at an Airbnb in Sunny Isles Beach drinking Hennessy cognac before the crash.

Police said Jean-Baptiste was driving with a learner’s permit that had been “suspended indefinitely.” He was in bond court Saturday and is charged with leaving the scene of a crash involving a death, driving while license is suspended, revoked, canceled or disqualified, and reckless driving.

About the Author:

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local 10.com.