ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Detectives are working hard to identify the hit and run driver responsible for killing a popular St. Augustine DJ.
On Saturday, an anonymous tip led them to the silver Mazda that knocked a telephone pole across US 1 early Friday morning, and then took off. Moments later, 34-year-old Juan Salazar hit the pole, and was thrown 40 feet from his scooter. He was then run over by a truck, and that driver took off as well.
Salazar's friends and family say they now realize how devastating hit and run's can be.
“You see one, after the other, after the other,” says Salazar’s friend Nicole Ortiz. “It's just not fair for someone to do something so dumb and not actually be like, ok, yeah, I messed up. I made a mistake.”
This week, Action News told you about the efforts state lawmakers are taking to strengthen the punishments that hit and run drivers face. On Saturday, we spoke to District 15 Representative Daniel Davis about an incentive drunk drivers have under the current law, to leave the scene and sober up before coming forward.
“Sometimes you just have loopholes or gaps in the law and we're working this session to bridge those gaps to make sure that people can't leave the scene of a crime, and because of minimum mandatory’s, receive a lower sentence than they would if they had stayed.”
St. Augustine Police Officer Chris Miller supports the effort, but says he's confident that the hit and run driver who caused Salazar's death will be held accountable no matter what.
“The laws on the books are pretty good, but could the laws be better, strengthened? Absolutely. There's an obligation to stay on scene. It's the law.”
But Salazar's family is wondering if the punishment will fit the crime.
“It's a lot worse when they just run, they leave,” says Ortiz. “It's not fair!”