‘Be honest with yourself:’ Family of couple killed in Seminole County hit-and-run crash pleads for answers

David Roman, 67, and Minerva Barreto, 57, were killed in I-4 crash

The family members of a couple killed in a hit-and-run crash one year ago pleaded for answers in the wreck.

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The family members of a couple killed in a hit-and-run crash one year ago pleaded for answers in the wreck.

The Florida Highway Patrol said the crash on Interstate 4 in Seminole County killed David Roman, 67, and Minerva Barreto, 57, on July 11, 2021. Roman is a U.S. Army veteran and Minerva Barreto was a homemaker, who took care of her children, according to the couple’s son.

[TRENDING: Florida park temporarily closes due to ‘aggressive alligator’ | Florida man tries to flee deputies on a riding lawn mower | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

The couple’s family spoke Monday to ask for answers and help locating the suspect vehicle.

“We just have a lot of questions. We’re still - it’s going to be a grieving process for the rest of our lives, but we’re just trying to kind of come to terms with what happened,” David Roman Barreto, the couple’s son, said during the news conference.

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.

The family members of a couple killed in a hit-and-run crash one year ago pleaded for answers in the wreck.

Crash investigators said they believe a red vehicle was traveling on northbound State Road 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.

Barreto said any information would help “give us a little bit of closure” and that the driver should come forward.

“I feel like in life, you need to like be honest with yourself. I truly believe that that was an accident. You know, my parents weren’t bad people. So I don’t think somebody did that out of spite. So, we just want to understand what happened. You know, if it was an accident, please just come forward and say that it was an accident, but there’s stuff that we need to take care of that we can’t because we don’t really know exactly what happened,” he said.

The victims' Toyota Corolla hit in the wreck on I-4 (left) and the area on the Corolla that investigators believe came from red vehicle that fled the scene (right). (Images: Florida Highway Patrol) (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Despite the lack of answers, Barreto said the family takes comfort their parents did not suffer.

“So we’re looking at it as a blessing in a way because obviously, it’s terrible, but that’s what God wanted, I guess in a way. So we’ve just been trying to grow and learn day by day and keep their teachings close by. They were excellent people, excellent parents,” he said.

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.

There is a $5,000 reward being offered for information that can lead to an arrest.

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.

Get today’s headlines in minutes with Your Florida Daily:


About the Author:

Brenda Argueta is a digital journalist who joined ClickOrlando.com in March 2021. She graduated from UCF and returned to Central Florida after working in Colorado.