WEST MIAMI-DADE(CBS4) – The parents of a Florida International University student who was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver nearly two weeks ago are speaking out for the first time, saying they pray that suspect will be caught.
“We are hoping and praying for that because we want this person to be caught. We don’t want this person to be free on the street,” said Melita Jaric.
Her 43-year-old daughter Melita was struck around 4 p.m. on March 8th as she walked from her home across SW 11th Street just west of LeJeune Road.
Miami-Dade Police said the vehicle did not stop and kept on moving westbound. Jaric’s mother and father spoke exclusively to CBS4’s Peter D’Oench as their daughter was honored in a stirring, 90-minute memorial service inside the Graham Center Ballroom on the campus of F.I.U.
The ballroom was packed with 150 professors, students and F.I.U. staff members and friends and Jaric’s mother, father and sister Nataca. Jaric was called a “brilliant and promising researcher” by one professor. It was also announced that F.I.U. professors had voted to award Jaric a posthumous Ph.D. in Computer Science.
She was a year away from getting that degree. It will be awarded posthumously if that proposal is approved by the university. “This memory of her is fine and a great thing,” said Melita Jaric. “I like it and it is a great opportunity to meet all of the people who admire my daughter. She was brilliant. She was a brilliant person.”
Jaris was a computer technology specialist who loved the arts, music, dance and ballet and who traveled extensively. “I do feel terrible,” said her mother. “Just terrible because nobody can replace my daughter. She was our first child. She was full of energy. She was the energy of our family. Her energy is all over of us and will last forever.”
Melita’s father Jovo told D’Oench, “It’s unbelievable how precious she was. She was our first choice. She was full of joy in our life and she was a straight A student in everything and in every school from the very beginning to the end of her life.” “She meant so much to us, so very much,” said Jovo Jaric.
“She meant so much and will mean so much to us until her death.” Melita Jaric was born in Belgrade, Yugoslavia. Her father is a professor.
Miami-Dade Police are also hoping anyone with information about the accident will come forward. They have said the vehicle that struck Jaric should have significant front-end damage. They urge you to call them or Miami-Dade Crimestoppers at (305) 471-TIPS (8477).