A widow is fighting for justice. Eight years after her husband was shot to death on the interstate, the case has gone cold. Now, the family is putting up a $25,000 reward in hopes of catching the killer.
The shooting happened March 6, 2005. At first, it looked like an accident. David Neel's Ford pick-up crashed off I-75 South, between the Fowler Avenue exit and I-4. Then, detectives saw the bullet hole. A single bullet had ripped through the truck. It hit Neel in the chest and he died instantly. Neel was 49.
Neel, of Wesley Chapel, was on his way to the Strawberry Festival to meet his family when he was shot. The question still remains: where did the bullet come from. David's family still doesn't know.
During a press conference Tuesday, the family announced the $25,000 reward. David's wife, his son, sister, and brother-in-law were at there. The family hopes the reward will be incentive for someone with information about the shot to come forward.
"We need to get this person off the streets," said David's widow Debra Neel. "We do not know if maybe this person has done it again."
Detectives have gotten tips from as far away as Ohio and West Virginia, but they still don't have that one to crack the case.
"It's been determined that the shot came from a vehicle alongside David's truck from the adjacent lane," said Corporal Dale Bunten.
Debra Neel has a theory.
"I think somebody was playing with a gun. I really feel this - and (they) just shot out," she said.
David's family says he was a careful driver. He would always go under the speed limit and stay in the right lane. For that reason, detectives have long considered extreme road rage as a theory.
"There's a lot of potential that somebody got behind him, maybe traffic was heavy, he wasn't moving fast enough, they got aggravated for some reason," said Bunten.
The who and why are a mystery. But detectives and David's family believe someone knows.
"You got to keep trying and I will keep trying. And our family will keep trying," said Debra. "$25,000 is a lot, but it's for David ... This is for him."
The reward is for information that leads to an arrest and conviction. Anyone with information should contact the Hillsborough Sheriff's Office.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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