Wife of St. Pete Navy veteran killed while trying to cross the street pleads for driver to come forward

Pinellas County

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – When Deborah Benedicto’s husband Marcelo didn’t return home after a quick trip to the convenience store, she knew something was wrong.

“I came out here because I saw a lot of lights,” said Deborah Benedicto. “And when they said it was someone hit in a wheelchair, of course, I’m thinking right away, that’s my husband.”

Deborah Benedicto looks at the area where her husband, Marcelo, was hit and killed while crossing the street.

Hours later, the medical examiner showed up at her door and confirmed her worst fear, her husband Marcelo was indeed the victim.

The 79-year old Navy Veteran was trying to cross 5th Avenue North in his wheelchair when he was hit. The driver of the vehicle didn’t stop. First responders pronounced Benedicto dead at the scene.

Marcelo Benedicto

Yolanda Fernandez with the St. Petersburg Police Department says officers have a limited description of the car involved and they are asking for the public’s help in this case.

“So we would like anyone with information to please come forward. We think it might be a white vehicle, or a light-colored vehicle, that’s the only description we have so far,” said Fernandez. “But it would have front-end damage.”

Deborah Benedicto says she never dreamed she would be taking care of her husband’s final arrangements.

“He just got through a fight with cancer, chemotherapy,” said Deborah Benedicto. “He was coming through it and was doing good.”

Neither she nor her husband had insurance, so she set up a fundraising account to help with end-of-life expenses.

She just can’t understand why the driver didn’t stop.

“That’s what bothers me. You have to be accountable,” said Deborah Benedicto. “I mean you at least have to stop and see if the person is alright… I just wish they would come forward and tell us what happened.”

If you know anything about the driver’s whereabouts, call the police.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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