76ºF

Troopers find car connected to fatal hit-and-run crash

Victim's family frustrated no arrests have been made

ORLANDO, Fla. – Troopers found the car they believe hit and killed a 21-year-old woman last month, the Florida Highway Patrol told News 6 Friday.

FHP said Jessica Esteras was hit by a vehicle and left for dead on the side of Hoffner Avenue on May 26. She was discovered around 3:50 a.m. Troopers said they are unsure when of the exact time she was hit.

"We lost a great person in our life. And you can't replace that,  you can't replace that," the victim's older brother Justo Esteras said.

Justo Esteras said he and his family can't begin to heal and get closure until troopers make an arrest in his sister's case.

"We know that we will get justice for my little sister," he said.

FHP got a big break in the case this week. Spokesman Trooper Steve Montiero said a lawyer contacted their headquarters and told them he may have the vehicle involved in the fatal crash.

"There is evidence on that vehicle that shows 1: this vehicle has been involved in a collision, 2: that it is very consistent with a pedestrian crash, and 3: there is evidence that this vehicle is the vehicle that struck this pedestrian," Montiero said.

Now FHP is trying to identify who was driving the night of the fatal crash.

"The attorney is representing the vehicle and anyone related to that car, so we have not been able to speak to anybody else yet," Montiero said. "But we are doing our best to continue on and keep a dialog open at this point."

The victim's brother is begging the car's owner to speak up if they know something that could lead troopers to his sister's killer.

"We've all got to face what we do wrong. Some people don't want to face it and hide behind lawyers," Esteras said. "I don't know what else to say to the guy, but if it wasn't you, then give up the person. Let us know who it was."

Justo Esteras adds he doesn't understand why an arrest hasn't been made yet now that troopers have the vehicle involved.

"He (the car's owner) is hiding behind his lawyer, I guess. I understand FHP has protocol, but it's still his car. He is the owner, so why can't they pick him up?" Esteras said.

Troopers said they understand the family's frustration, but they say building a case takes time and they are asking for patience.

"This all takes time, but we've proven we're very persistent with these types of cases and sooner or later we will bring justice to this," Montiero said. "We want it to move quickly, but we don't make an arrest and build a case. We build a case to make an arrest and that's how it sticks."

FHP said just because they have the vehicle involved, doesn't mean the investigation is over. Investigators are still actively working the case and asked anyone with information to give them a call.


About the Author: