HIALEAH (CBS4) – Loved ones are pleading for the public’s help after a 78-year-old grandmother was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver.
Police in the city hope someone in the public will recognize surveillance tape that they are releasing of the suspect’s car.
Police say Maria Morales was struck and killed as she got off a bus on Lejeune Road at East 11th Place about 6:30 Tuesday night.
Her relatives who live nearby said she was bringing them a gift of food: rice and beans.
Morales died on the scene. The hit-and-run vehicle took off.
Inside the family’s home, Morales’s loved ones embraced each other and shed tears for the the woman who they said always seemed to have a smile for everyone.
“Please bring her back to me,” said Morales’ daughter, Marlen Pena. “I want her here with me. My mother, they told me, she was alive yesterday. I want them to catch whoever did this because it’s an act of cruelty. They left a person strewn on the street.”
Pena told CBS4′s Peter D’Oench that, “I want to catch this person that did this because you don’t do this and leave her thrown there on the street, like as if she was a dog. Please I need them to catch these people. Why did they just leave her there? Why didn’t they take her to the hospital? If they had taken her to the hospital, she might have lived.”
“I am in shock. We don’t accept the reality that my mother as of yesterday at 12 noon that I saw her and that now, later that same day, she is dead,” Morales’ son, Andres Pena said. “Half of my life is gone. This has destroyed me. You don’t leave here like some object in the street.”
Annette Rojas, who is married to Morales’ grandson, told CBS4, “If someone can help, please help us and call the police to say you can help. Please we need your help. I feel so bad. I have no words for this. I feel so bad.”
Hialeah Police released surveillance tape that was obtained from a store that is right next to the crime scene. It showed the suspect’s car headed southbound on Lejeune Road.
Police said the vehicle is a 4-door, 2001 to 2003 Hyundai Elantra. The vehicle is parrot blue pearl metallic in color. There also may be some damage to, or white scuffs on the driver’s right-side tires because it hit a curb and the vehicle also lost a driver’s wide mirror.
Morales’ family told CBS4 that they could not afford to pay for burial costs for Morales.
On Wednesday afternoon, a spokeswoman for the Office of the State Attorney General told D’Oench that those burial expenses would be taken care thanks to a federally-funded Victims Compensation Program that is run by her office.
Anyone who recognizes the vehicles or who knows anything is urged to call Hialeah Police or Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).