Police searching for driver who fled after hit-and-run kills Coral Springs father

CORAL SPRINGS, FLA. (WSVN) - Coral Springs Police are searching for the driver responsible in a fatal hit-and-run crash that claimed the life of a South Florida father.

Officials said the driver of the stolen car left a critical clue on the scene, and police investigating the case hope it will lead to an arrest.

Police were called to the scene at 1:22 a.m. near West Sample Road and State Road 7. The driver of the stolen dark gray 2011 BMW 535 was traveling at high speed when, officials said, it collided with a white Mitsubishi SUV driven by Charlie Ruiz and traveling westbound on Sample Road.

Investigators believe the driver of the BMW lost control of their vehicle, traveled across a raised ramp median and crashed into the SUV. Both vehicles were found overturned, and Ruiz was killed on the scene. He was driving home from work.

A neighbor said, the 39-year-old’s whole life was his teenage daughter. “He was a very nice guy, a very hard worker, very dedicated to his daughter,” said Nicole Cortés-Alonzo.

A witness recalled what he saw. “I turned left onto Sample, and I was going eastbound on Sample, and I literally just see a tumble and that was it,” he said. “Then I looked to my left, and that’s when I see the white Mitsubishi.”

When police arrived, the BMW driver allegedly fled on foot. Witnesses said there was at least one passenger that fled, as well.

“When we pulled up, we seen the driver getting out of the car, the BMW,” the witness said. “He took off running. He jumped the fence. These people were trying to get him to stop running.”

Police believe the BMW was stolen during a house party, near 4100 N.W. 58th St. in Coconut Creek. The owner of the home, according to neighbors, was out of town. “I heard she ‘Airbnb’ed her house or something,” said Brandon Chung, who lives nearby. “Then kids rented it or something and threw a big, big party.”

A woman who lives nearby said a lot of young people were at the party. “There were a lot of kids in the area. There were a bunch of car. Obviously, it was a house party,” she said.

Neighbors said the people staying at the home threw big parties on both Friday and Saturday night, causing police to intervene. “Right when the cops left, it started back up again,” Chung said. “That’s when, I’m guessing, that’s when the people came back and stole the car.”

Ruiz’s daughter, neighbors said, returned to her father’s apartment on Sunday. “She was devastated,” Cortés-Alonzo said. “Devastated, she was crying. You don’t think you’re gonna lose your parent. You know what I mean? You think you’re gonna grow old with them. They’re gonna meet their grandchildren, so for her, I’m sure, was definitely a heartbreak.”

If you have any information on this hit-and-run, call Broward Crime Stoppers at 954-471-TIPS. Remember, you can always remain anonymous, and you may be eligible for a $3,000 reward.

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