DANIA BEACH, FLA. (WSVN) - Investigators have identified the vehicle involved in a fatal hit-and-run in Dania Beach that claimed the life of a 42-year-old mother, but her family continues searching for answers on the driver who struck her and did not stop.
Brenda Martinez was full of life after she finished a month of rehabilitation after brain surgery to remove a tumor.
The 42-year-old would post her last video on Snapchat on May 5, showing she was on a bicycle ride with TJ, her 14-year-old son. Minutes after the video was posted, she was struck and killed in a hit-and-run.
According to Broward Sheriff’s Office detectives, Martinez was struck by a newer-model blue Chevrolet Silverado 1500, and its driver did not stop.
On Thursday, Broward County Crime Stoppers released a flier asking the public’s help for information on the case. Officials noted the truck may have possible front-end damage.
“The truck never hit the brake light, never even tapped the brake pedal, nothing,” Thomas Bryan, the father of Martinez’s four children, said. “It kept going, flying down the road — devastating, devastating, horrible. My son was the one who witnessed the whole thing.”
Martinez’s family has built a memorial near the spot where the 42-year-old died, off State Road 84 and Southwest 22nd Terrace, in Dania Beach.
On that May night, Brenda and TJ were on a bike ride at around 11:30 p.m. to go see a group of motorcyclists that gather every Wednesday night.
“They came down the bridge and he was like on the shoulder of the road, you know, doing stunts on his bike and she was in the merge lane and she was recording him,” said Bryan.
While recording, Brenda fell off her bike and when TJ went to help her, he witnessed his mother getting run over by the pickup truck.
“The whole time he’s running behind the truck looking for his mother because she’s not there, and at the 160-foot mark, that’s when her body came from underneath the truck,” said Bryan.
Christa Clark, a good Samaritan, stopped to help after she saw debris from the impact on the road.
“I actually wasn’t even supposed to be coming down this street. I missed my exit,” Clark said. “First thing I saw was the shoe. I got closer. I saw a bike. I got closer. I saw a body. Her son, unfortunately, was there, and I heard him crying, and I ran right over to him. He was screaming out, ‘That’s my mommy.’ My nephew lost his mother recently, too. My twin sister passed last year, so I saw my nephew in him, and it was just natural.”
Clark was the person who covered Martinez’s body.
“I had to cover her up because I knew the daughters were on the way, the family was on the way, and I didn’t want anybody to see her that way,” she said. “The police hadn’t arrived. Honestly, I’ve lost sleep over it.”
Martinez’s family said they have gone through several sleepless nights in the three weeks since the hit-and-run.
Bryan and his children believe whoever hit Martinez knows what they did and wants them to come forward.
“I know he knows he did it,” Bryan said. “It was in pieces, tire over here. Another tire over here, handlebars over here. It was in pieces so you can hear that whole bicycle going underneath your truck. I know he’s seen it on the news. I’m sure he drove by here and seen the crosses, the memorial that we have here, so why don’t you do my kids a favor and my grandbaby a favor and just turn yourself in?”
Bryan also believes the driver heard his son.
“He’s screaming there so I know he saw my son. I know he knew what he did,” he said.
TJ still struggles.
“He hasn’t talked about it, and I don’t bring it out of him yet. It’s really still fresh,” said Bryan. “He has a long life to go with no mother.”
Although TJ doesn’t talk about that night, he put his thoughts into a letter to 7News.
His letter reads in part, “My mom didn’t deserve this … “Please help us find who did this. I really miss my mom.”
The bike Brenda was riding was red so the truck involved in the hit-and-run may have red marks on it.
According to the family, Martinez’s uncle died in a hit-and-run in 1990 on the same street. That case was never solved.
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 $5,000 reward.
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