Wheelchair-bound elderly woman dies in Miami hit-and-run

MIAMI (WSVN) - An 83-year-old, wheelchair-bound woman was struck and killed in the street on her way to church.

Surveillance video captured Margaret Ruiz as she traveled down the sidewalk, near Northeast 62nd Street and Second Avenue, moments before she was struck, Wednesday evening.

According to Miami Police, a four-door, dark-colored car struck the victim before taking off. “We don’t know if it’s a man or a woman that was behind the wheel, but we most definitely know that that person is being considered as a heartless person,” said Miami Police spokesperson Kenia Fallat.

Her son, Barry Pantoja, was upset when he heard the news. “I can’t imagine being in their situation and being able to live with themselves,” he said via phone.

Pantoja lives in New York, where Ruiz is from. “My mother, for many, many years was my whole world,” Pantoja said.

According to Pantoja, the victim had five children and moved to Florida when her daughter had a child. Over the years, he said, Ruiz became isolated from her family and was even homeless at one point.

“She had been going through some difficult, emotional times and was trying to find some peace and comfort from a difficult childhood that she had,” Pantoja said.

The victim was homeless until she moved into an affordable housing community in Florida.

Lakeisha Ware was Ruiz’s case manager and helped her transition off the street. “It’s hard because you have to have a mother. She is somebody’s mother,” Ware said. “She’s somebody’s grandmother. How can you do that to a person and not look back? We ask you all, if you know something, say something.”

Sandra Newsome, who works at Carrfour Supportive Housing, said Ruiz was memorable. “She was a sparkle here, and she’ll be greatly missed,” she said. “What happened to her should not have happened.”

“I want the community to know that everybody has someone they love, and they would like to have some closure,” Pantoja said.

If you have any information on this hit and run, call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.

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