SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The family of two people killed in a hit-and-run crash on Interstate 4 in Seminole County is pleading for any information that can lead to the driver.
The Florida Highway Patrol said investigators have determined the crash that killed 67-year-old David Roman and 57-year-old Minerva Barreto on July 11 just before 1 a.m. to be a hit-and-run and the driver is still being sought. Roman is a U.S. Army veteran.
Troopers said the vehicle that hit the Toyota Corolla the two were traveling in fled the scene on eastbound I-4. FHP said their key piece of evidence is red transfer paint found on the Corolla.
Crash investigators said they believe a red vehicle was traveling on northbound S.R. 417 and entered I-4, sideswiping the couple’s vehicle. The impact likely caused the couple to strike the guardrail and shift back into traffic. The couple was then struck by a pick-up truck, officials said.
Troopers said they’re now searching for a red suspect vehicle with heavy damage on the left side. Lt. Kim Montes said the agency has checked 31 vehicles and expects to investigate at least 30 more.
The couple has five children and they addressed the media alongside FHP Wednesday morning, asking the driver to come forward to help provide closure to the family.
“The fact that they didn’t call 911 could’ve made a difference between life and death. My father was rushed to the hospital, maybe a few minutes could’ve made a difference,” David Roman Barreto, the victims’ son said.
FHP Lt. Kim Montes said the vehicle will likely have damage to their left side.
“The crash happened right at the entrance or exit of 417 onto eastbound I-4, the red vehicle that we are looking for, the suspect vehicle, entered I-4, we believe that they sideswiped with their left side,” Montes said. “So the damage on this red vehicle whether it’s a pickup truck, a passenger vehicle, a van, the damage is going to be on their left side.”
Montes explained they’ve already checked about 30 vehicles through toll cameras but ruled them out of the case.
“If this was your family, you would want somebody to do the right thing,” Montes said.
FHP said this case marks the 16th fatal hit-and-run crash the agency is investigating this year. Troopers are investigating 25 to 35 hit-and-run crashes a day.
“This is an epidemic,” Montes said. “We have 16 families that want answers.”
According to the FHP, leaving the scene of a fatal crash is a first-degree felony with a minimum mandatory 4-year prison sentence of up to 30 years in prison.
Anyone with information who would like to remain anonymous is asked to contact Crimeline at 1-800-423-TIPS (8477), or contact the FHP at 407-737-2213.