"Oh you don't know how much it hits me. So hard, real hard," said Isabel Vargas. Outside, it was 84 degrees and she was dressed in black. Vargas was mourning the death of her brother, 79-year-old Bennie Vasquez. Killed in a hit and run.
According to witnesses Mr. Vasquez was crossing East 2nd street at the time he was hit. The car, a late model 4-door dark blue, maybe green, with tinted windows, was travelling West near Beech Avenue. The impact threw the 79-year-old up onto the hood of the car. There were no sounds of screeching tires, there are no skid marks. Vasquez rolled off the vehicle30 feet later, his head striking the pavement.
"It was bleeding real bad," said Adrian Hernandez. He saw the perpetrator pull over after the impact. "They pulled over here, they stopped and then took off. They looked to see if he would get up or not, but he didn't, so they just took off," he said.
"I wish they would turn themselves in," said Johnny Robinson. He knew Vasquez for 30 years. His friend and the person who hit him, occupying his thoughts during his Labor Day Bar-B-Que. "It's not a good thing to hit someone and then take off like that, they might have saved his life, I don't know," he wondered.
Grief and sadness, compounded by outrage over a stranger's callous act. "This is something that, for the first time in my life that ever hurt me so much, because my brother was the oldest in the family and he's 79 years old and he was a real, real, great guy. He don't drink, nothing. He just moved to the new residence and thinking that happened to him, that was tough I'm telling you," sobbed Vargas.