Thursday morning before daylight, Yonny Mendez parked his truck and went inside a Valero gas station on a busy industrial street not far from the Miami Jai-Alai fronton.
A few minutes later Mendez, 38, was dead after he fled from an attack by a man wielding a machete. Unfortunately, his sprint to safety took him into the path of more danger — across a busy four-lane road not far from Miami International Airport where two cars struck him. Neither vehicle stopped.
The bizarre altercation, yet to be fully sorted out by police, happened at the Valero on Northwest 36th Street and 32nd Avenue at about 5 a.m. Thursday. There were not many witnesses.
According to Miami police, after Mendez walked into the gas station, he began arguing with another man, who went to his vehicle and grabbed and began swinging a machete. Police said Mendez was struck by the machete, but not severely enough to kill him. They also didn’t say what the men were fighting about.
Fearing for his life, Mendez ran out of the station and into traffic. Police said he was struck by a Mitsubishi Fuso flatbed truck possibly driven by the attacker. The man in the truck fled after it struck Mendez. As Mendez lay on the road, someone driving a Kia also struck him.
“It seems he died when he was run over,” said Miami police officer Yelitza Cedano.
Miami Fire Rescue pronounced him dead on the scene. Later Thursday police detained and questioned two people about Mendez’s death, but later released them. Police are looking for the flatbed and urge anyone with any information to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-8477.