Police search for hit-and-run driver in deadly collision
DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. (WSVN) -- Police are searching for the driver who, they said, struck and killed a South Florida man while he was walking home Sunday.
Investigators said 29-year-old Jorge Escalante was fatally hit on West Sample Road and Northwest Eighth Avenue in Pompano Beach just after 3 a.m. "He was crossing the roadway from north to south when the westbound vehicle struck him and fled the scene," said Broward Sheriff's Office spokesperson Mike Jachles.
Lisa Rivera, the victim's fiancée, said the motorist took "the life of somebody, somebody who was such a good person."
Cynthia Ortiz, Rivera's mother, said Escalante had plans to marry her daughter in late September. "He was really good to her kids; he loved her kids," said Cynthia Ortiz. "They were planning to get married on the beach."
According to Ortiz, Escalante and fiancée Lisa Rivera had gotten into an argument at El Reventon, a neighborhood bar. Around 2 a.m., Ortiz said her daughter wanted to leave and Escalante wanted to stay. Rivera then left the bar by herself.
Escalante stayed behind and began walking home just over an hour later. Detectives said the pedestrian was heading west on West Sample Road when he was hit on the east side of some railroad tracks, a few blocks from his residence.
"I was woken up, [and they were] saying he was in the middle of the road, on the floor," said Rivera. "I ran over there."
"I didn't get to say I'm sorry," Rivera continued as she broke down in tears. A makeshift memorial in Spanish on her kitchen table honors Escalante's life.
Ortiz said another deadly collision recently took place at the same intersection where Escalante was struck. "About a month ago, somebody else was killed over here the same way," she said. "It's very dangerous. These people drive like crazy around here."
Jachles said the car that struck Escalante was a mid-size sedan. "We're looking for a vehicle, a 1992-93 Toyota Camry or similar type vehicle," he said. "It's beige in color, and it's missing a driver's side mirror, and it has damage to the front driver's side quarter panel and door."
Rivera said she is trying to get Escalante buried with his family in his native country. "We're trying to get him back to Guatemala, but we don't have all the money," she said. "We're trying to get help from whoever."
Ortiz said she hopes police are able to capture the person responsible for this. "It's horrible; he's a really good guy, and for somebody to run [him] over and just go, it's horrible," she said. "I really hope that they catch the person that did that to him."
Ortiz added that if the motorist is listening, it is not too late to surrender to authorities. "If it was your family, how would you feel? Come forward. It's just not right."
Rivera echoed her mother's sentiment. "If you really have a heart, please come forward," said Rivera. "Just let us have some closure in our family."
If you have any information on this hit-and-run collision, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward.
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