DANIA BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Loved ones gathered to remember the South Florida mother who, authorities said, was killed in front of her teenage son by the driver of a pickup truck who fled the scene.
7News cameras on Friday afternoon captured family members at a growing makeshift memorial at the same spot where, investigators said, a hit-and-run driver took Brenda Martinez’s life.
“We’re out here as a unit. People are coming from different states: New York, Pennsylvania, Jersey, Virginia, everywhere,” said Alex Lopez, the victim’s brother. “They’re all coming, and they’re still coming, so we’re working as a collective unit, and that way, people can see that she was loved.”
Thursday evening, several dozen mourners came together in Dania Beach to pray and console each other.
“No one can believe that a young, vibrant woman with so much life could just disappear that way,” said Suzie Raymond, the victim’s best friend.
Loved ones wore green, Martinez’s favorite color. They described the mother of four as unforgettable.
Raymond stood at the memorial with three of her children.
“If you ever met her, even in just passing, you would remember her,” she said.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Martinez and her son went on a bike ride, Wednesday night, but she never made it back home.
“The guy never stopped, never even hit his brake lights,” said Thomas Bryan, the father of Martinez’s children, as he fought back tears. “My son is the one who witnessed everything. He’s only 14 years old, and he saw everything.”
Deputies said the pickup truck hit Martinez along busy State Road 84, near Interstate 95, at around 11:30 p.m.
Investigators said the victim initially fell off the bike and was trying to get up when the truck slammed into her.
Authorities said the driver kept going.
“You still stop. I don’t care. You face what you did,” said Bryan.
Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue crews responded to the scene and pronounced Martinez dead.
Now Bryan is hurting like so many others who will miss Martinez dearly.
“It’s awful, man,” he said.
“You stole someone from us. You robbed this woman of her life, and you didn’t even have the decency to stop,” said Raymond.
Martinez leaves behind four children ages 24, 21, 19 and 14.
It was her youngest child who, loved ones said, witnessed the crash.
“This is something that no one should have to witness, let alone a child to witness his mother,” said Raymond.
Through their tears and prayers, Martinez’s family and friends hope for justice.
“Please, whoever did it, come forward. Give my kids some peace,” said Bryan.
“I hope you feel guilty, and if you don’t, I hope you rot in jail,” said Lopez. “It’s just sympathy, bro. Why wouldn’t you press the brakes? Like, you an innocent person on the road. You have to be very sick, heartless.”
Investigators described the pickup truck involved as a newer model, dark Chevrolet Silverado.
Loved ones said they will continue to return to the scene of the crash until the driver responsible is found.
“She was very important to us, and we’re here, and we’re fighting for her, and we’re going to be here every day until they catch that murderer,” said Lopez.
A GoFundMe has been set up for Martinez’s family. If you would like to donate, click here.
If you have any information on this hit-and-run, call Broward County Crime Stoppers at 954-493-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a reward of up to $5,000.
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