Vehicle recovered in Melbourne fatal hit-and-run crash

Police say there’s also a person of interest in the case

MELBOURNE, Fla. – Melbourne police have recovered the vehicle suspected of striking and killing Nate “Puppy” Real, a manager at The Mansion, in a hit-and-run crash early Saturday morning on U.S. 1 in downtown Melbourne, News 6 partner Florida Today reported.

“There is also a person of interest in the case,” police announced Monday morning via email. No other details about the person of interest have been released.

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Real, a 28-year-old Melbourne resident, was fatally struck by an unidentified driver about 2 a.m. Saturday on U.S. 1 between New Haven and Strawbridge avenues, near his workplace, police reported.

The driver fled the scene, according to police. Detectives believed the suspect was driving a red 2007 to 2013 model-year GMC Sierra with front-end damages, or a similar truck.

Sidney Farrish, who worked Real for about a year and a half, told News 6 that he will be missed.

“He is going to live on in all of us and his voice is forever going to be heard here,” Farrish said. “He was like the glue that tied us together. He was the person that even if you are having a bad day, he wanted to turn that around for you and make it a positive day.”

Farrish said loved ones have stopped by to remember Real.

“We’ve had people come by and drop off candles, flowers, little things just to, you know, honor him, and anything we do is not going to be enough,” Farrish said. “I think that we come in here every day -- and I mean I’ve been telling my staff, ‘What would Nate want us to do right now?’ and it would be to put out best smiles on and the show must go on because that is what he would always say.”

Police ask anyone with information on the case to call traffic homicide investigators at 321-616-6118.