Man’s Death Highlights South Florida’s Hit-and Run Problem

South Florida is No. 1 in a lot of things but one distinction no one is proud of is leading the state in the number of hit-and-run crashes, and police say solving them can be very difficult.

Now one detective is trying to find the killer of a man who only wanted to ride his scooter in downtown Miami.

Jean-Carlos Hernandez Trujillo had been visiting the U.S. for less than two months, but was enthralled.

"He thought everything was great, he actually even talked about how secure it was here," cousin Maury Sierra said.

Freed from the dangers of his native Venezuela, Trujillo would cruise around downtown Miami on his scooter at all hours.

"He loved that he could go out at any time like it happened that night and that he would be safe," Sierra said.

But in Florida, no one is less safe from hit-and-run drivers than people in Miami-Dade County.

Just before 2 a.m., a car speeding through a red light at the center of the city, Flagler Street and Miami Avenue, slammed into his scooter, flipped him in the air and tossed him onto the car's trunk, where he remained for two blocks until the killer accelerated onto I-95 and his body rolled off onto the road,

"With a human being, I mean it’s difficult to try to understand what type of person this is," Miami Traffic Homicide Det. WIllie Moreno said.

Moreno has been trying to find the driver for nearly three months but doesn't have a lot to work with.

"There’s very little debris left on the scene and most of that debris is from this motorcycle," Moreno said.

Moreno does have a grainy surveillance video showing the car that killed Hernandez Trujillo and he has a piece of glass he thinks may have come from the car's passenger side rear quarterpanel.

But even finding the car will not solve the case.

"You could find the car, you still have to know who was driving it. That is the second-hardest part, putting that driver behind the wheel and that’s where we need the community," Moreno said.

There are many reasons drivers say they run.

"They were scared, they weren’t aware they hit somebody, they might not have a legitimate driver’s license, it might be suspended or they never had one, they might have had something to drink, or they may be wanted," Moreno said.

Whatever the reasons, one in four Florida crashes is a hit and run. Those involving death increased 23 percent in just the last two years, leaving more detectives like Moreno to tell more families they'll never see a loved one again.

Moreno and the family of Hernandez Trujillo are still looking for a white, light gray or silver four-door, possibly a Mazda 6, that hit the scooter just before 2 a.m. on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend.

It's one of more than 80,000 hit and runs a year in Florida, a number so disturbing the legislature has made leaving the scene of a fatal crash a minimum four-year prison term.

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