NewsPinellas County


Family wants driver to come forward after disabled vet killed in hit-and-run

Victim had just beaten cancer
Posted at 2:58 PM, Nov 08, 2021

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Marcelo Benedicto’s wife said the family went through a lot to keep her husband alive and he had just beaten cancer.

“Just had his last PET scan on Thursday. And things were looking up and now that’s stolen from us,” said Deborah Benedicto.

Benedicto served in the Navy and Air Force and was later a charter boat captain. But diabetes left him an amputee who used a wheelchair to get around.

“He had a great attitude. He had a great spirit about himself. Laughing. Singing all the time,” said his daughter, Tina Marie.

Despite everything he’d been through, Marcelo’s family tells us he really valued his independence.

He was coming back from picking things up at a local deli in his wheelchair when he was hit crossing 5th Avenue north.

St. Petersburg Police said a car, possibly white or light-colored, hit him and kept on going Sunday night around 7:15 pm just east of St. Petersburg High School. Benedicto died before ever making it to the hospital.

“I can’t believe that they would have hit and him, but then just to keep going. And not even stop to see if he was hurt. I hope this person will come forward,” said Deborah.

Police say thirteen pedestrians were killed so far this year hit by cars while walking or biking. That’s almost double the number from 2020.

But it’s this one that has left the Benedicto family crushed.

“Took my dad. Grandpa, father, great-grandpa. He was a veteran. All I can say is I miss him and he’s in heaven,” said Tina Marie.

Anyone with information on the crash that killed Marcelo Benedicto is asked to call St. Petersburg Police at 727-893-7780.