HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — A family wants answers after a deadly hit-and-run crash over the weekend in Tampa.
Justin Padlo was hit while walking on Orient Road and died at the hospital. The driver is still on the run.
“We’re processing, but it’s very hard,” his sister Melissa Padlo said.
Melissa Padlo says her older brother knew how to make you laugh.
“Anyone who knew him would tell you he was the funniest person they knew,” Padlo said.
She says he had a big heart and made friends everywhere he went.
“Everybody smiled with Justin,” Padlo said. “Just laughs, just in the most inappropriate times, but just laughs.”
His 6-year-old son was his world. He will now grow up without his father.
“Spitting image like he was cloned,” Padlo said. “This boy, light of his life.”
Hillsborough County deputies say Padlo was walking in the middle of Orient Road on Nov. 12, when a driver hit him. The driver stopped to help Padlo, but moments later the driver of a silver SUV went around stopped traffic, hitting Padlo again, and dragging him down the street. That driver didn’t stop.
“That’s the part that keeps me up at night,” Padlo said. “The fact that it was such a horrible way for him to pass.”
Padlo is searching for answers as to why the driver didn’t stop.
“He was dragged for about a block and a half and this person kept going,” Padlo said. “How do you not realize that something like that has happened and just no regard and just keep going?”
There were a few people around the corner who heard the first driver hit Padlo and then heard the second impact. They ran over to see what happened, but then they tried to save him.
Tea Rodriguez lives at the intersection where the hit-and-run happened. She says she and a few other people were on the phone with 911 and at the same time trying to find a pulse.
“They said to us, ‘if you feel a pulse, say now’ and I think I was able to say now twice and after that, it became very faint,” Rodriguez said. “You can’t be human to drive away from something like that.”
Padlo says she forgives the driver. All she wants is for him to turn himself in. The family also wants closure.
“It was an accident,” Padlo said. “Nobody’s looking for like vengeance for this person. We want to be able to lay my brother to rest with answers.”
At this time, deputies are looking for a male driver and his female passenger.
The driver is described as being a white man with dirty blond hair and a beard. He is believed to be in his 40s.
The passenger is described as a heavy-set white woman with brown hair below her shoulders. She too is believed to be in her 40s.
Both of them were wearing white tank tops at the time. Their vehicle is believed to be an “unidentified silver SUV, possibly early 2000s model Ford Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer.”
If you know anything about this incident, call 813-247-8200.