Broward County

Family of hit-and-run crash victims plea for closure

Video: Hit-and-run Awareness Week

Marian Sanchez pleas for the public's help in finding out who killed her mother during a news conference Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, held by Florida Highway Patrol for Hit-And-Run Awareness Week, which began Monday.
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Marian Sanchez pleas for the public's help in finding out who killed her mother during a news conference Monday, Feb. 15, 2016, held by Florida Highway Patrol for Hit-And-Run Awareness Week, which began Monday.

Marian Sanchez remembers hearing a honking horn, seeing lights coming at her and thinking “that car is going to hit me.”

What happened next is a bit of a blur.

Her mother, who was walking behind her as they crossed Kendall Drive at Southwest 101 Avenue just before 11 p.m. Dec. 11, ran and pushed her out of the way. The result: her mother and best friend Benita Chacon Sanchez lost her life.

And making the loss even harder, Sanchez said: “He didn’t even stop and see if we were OK.”

On Monday, Sanchez pleaded for someone to come forward with information that would help the Florida Highway Patrol find the person behind the wheel of the car as part of a news conference for Hit and Run Awareness Week, which began Monday and runs through Friday. All police has to go on is that it was a white sedan that hit them.

FHP Spokesman Joe Sanchez said leaving the scene of an accident is a criminal act.

“The law clearly states you cannot leave the scene,” he said. “Once you turn a cheek and once you flee, you just became a criminal.”

In 2015, there were 92,623 hit and run crashes in Florida, an increase of about 7,500 crashes from the previous year.

Miami-Dade and Broward topped the list for the number of hit-and-run crashes and fatalities for the state. In 2015, there were 18,345 reported hit-and-run crashes with 41 fatalities. In Broward there were 10,943 crashes with 15 fatalities.

Miami-Dade led the state with the number of pedestrians killed by hit-and-run drivers with 22.

FHP spokesman for Broward, Mark Wysocky said it “amazes” him how someone can just leave.

“It’s sad that we have so many people down here that are willing to leave the scene and just forget about whatever happened and just go on with their daily life and live like nothing happened,” he said.

Also at the conference Thursday was Charmen Metellus, whose husband Arnold was killed Oct. 26, 2014. Arnold Metellus, a Road Ranger, was helping out another driver at about 1 a.m. when someone slammed into him as he stood on the shoulder of the northbound lanes of I-95, south of Palmetto Park exit in Palm Beach County. The Jeep was later recovered in Broward, but Wysocky said that troopers have not been able to place anyone behind the wheel.

Metellus said she needs closure.

“I am watching my son grow up without his father,” she said.

Marian Sanchez feels Metellus’ pain. She will now have to grow up without her mother.

“It’s my mom who I lost,” she said, fighting back tears. “She is never going to meet my children. She is never going to be there when I need her. She is not going to be there at my graduation and that’s really hard to accept.”

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