HOLLYWOOD (CBS4) – With tips from the public, police were able to identify a person of interest and seize the vehicle possibly involved in a hit and run incident that killed a bicyclist in Hollywood, police said.
The Hollywood Police Department said that after releasing the video of the suspect’s vehicle two weeks ago they were able to receive multiple tips.
The accident took place on Friday, May 13th at 9:18 p.m. on the Sheridan Street draw bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway, just west of A1A in Hollywood.
A bicyclist, identified as 45-year-old Willmar Galeano, of Pembroke Pines, was riding his bike over the bridge when a white van hit him from behind. Cameras mounted on the bridge captured the impact and the van driving away.
“The guy struck this person that was riding the bicycle,” Hollywood Police Department. Lt. Norris Redding said “He went some three feet in the air over a railing and landed on the other side of the bridge. Another two feet, he would have been over the bridge and into the water.”
Galeano’s brother, Carlos Galeano, spoke with CBS4’s Peter D’Oench. He said it’s very hard to watch the video, a video so violent that police froze the video before the impact.
“”They got a van and they have a person of interest,” he said. “That makes me real happy, and if that person is watching, I mean turn yourself in. They are going to catch you. As I said before on the news, they are going to catch you.”
Galeano was seriously hurt and taken to Memorial Regional Hospital where he died of his injuries two days later.
Police released the surveillance video and 911 calls hoping someone will recognize the van and lead to the driver’s arrest. The calls revealed the chilling last moments for Galeano.
“Oh my God, he had one breath and now he’s nothing,” said the 911 caller. “He’s not breathing, no.”
If you take a close look at the video on the top right, you can see there was a man fishing. Police are seeing if he can give them any clues into who may be have been behind the wheel of that van, which now likely has damage to the right side.
Police and Carlos Galeano said they want to thank those who called in with tips.
“The people that gave the tips, I want to thank them, thank them from the bottom of my heart,” Carlos Galeano said. “It’s a good relief to me and my family.”
Bike riders in the area told CBS4’s Ted Scouten that even though cars and bikes are supposed to share the road, many choose to stay on the sidewalk.
“I can’t count them (close calls),” said cyclist Deborah Sharp. “I’ve been riding a long time around here and I can’t count how many close calls.”
The van was described as a newer model, white or light colored, Chevy passenger van (possibly the Express model) with high-mounted rear taillights. The van may have damage to the front right bumper, grill and headlight area.
Galeano’s brother said he’s hoping for more information in the case.
“It would mean a lot if they could solve this case, not just for me but for all the other families whose loved ones have been victimized by hit and run drivers,” he said. “I hope they too could be getting some peace.”
Police have not released the name of the person they are questioning and are not saying if they are close to filing charges. But they have said that they are still investigating the incident.