MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Emotional words from grieving family members Monday as they plead for the public’s help in finding the driver who left two family members dead in a hit and run along the Turnpike.
Josephine Sadelis-Cepeda is the daughter-in-law of one of the victims.
“There are four children now left without their fathers, to fend for them, to provide for their soccer lessons, for their baseball lessons,” cried Sadelis-Cepeda. “My mother-in-law doesn’t know how to drive and now she has to learn how to do that. We ask that you please donate to our gofundme page to help us during this difficult time. In all, we say do what is right in your heart.”
Sadelis-Cepeda told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench, “There are no words to say except that this could happen to you. So treat this as you would anyone of your family members. And I would say to whoever did this you should turn yourself in and let justice be done and bring peace to the family because of the harm that this tragedy has caused.”
“This can’t happen anymore and as I am speaking without officers I can say that this happens too many times a year,” she said. “Why is that you didn’t stop. You left behind a father and a son.”
“They were the Kings of the families and my brother-n-law had a big heart,” she said. “He would work 15 hours a day and when we would ever go out to dinner he would pay for all of us. And my father-in-law all the time he would keep us United as a family. Please surrender yourself and give us peace to our families and honor our men.”
She was joined in the plea by Juan Carlos Cepeda, who lost a brother and a father.
Cesar Eduardo Cepeda, 34, was driving his pickup truck on the northbound ramp to 836 when he slammed into a guardrail around 5 a.m. on Feb. 9.
He got out of the truck and called his dad, Jose Eduardo Cepeda Luna, 57, for help.
When both were standing outside of the truck, someone in a Chevy Camaro struck them both. Both died at the scene.
FHP says the person who struck them took off in the father’s vehicle, a Chevy Equinox, which was found abandoned in Homestead, thanks to an OnStar device in the car.
FHP says they located the owner of the Camaro but that person is not a person of interest at this time. The owner of the car gave names to FHP of people who had access to the vehicle. It is unknown who was driving it.
FHP says now there are persons of interest in the case and they are checking DNA found in the Camaro.
Cepeda and Luna were the sole providers for their families. Luna with a wife, four children, including 2 minor children, and many grandchildren. Cepeda leaves behind a wife and two small kids.
Here is the gofundme.com page if you’d like to help the family.
And if you know anything about the driver or this case, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at (305) 471- TIPS.
“This family is destroyed because of a careless act and someone could have stayed at the scene and maybe this would have just been an accident but by leaving the scene, you make things much worse. The law clearly says you need to stay at the scene of an accident,” said FHP trooper and spokesman Joe Sanchez.
Sanchez said FHP is promoting hit-and-run awareness this month.
Sanchez said there were 177 hit-and-run deaths in Floria last year. He said leaving the scene of an accident when there is a death can lead to a prison term of up to 30 years if you are convicted and a $10,000 fine. Leaving the scene of an accident with property damage can lead to a prison term of up to 3 years and a $5,000 fine if you are convicted.