83-year-old Santiago Carcamo and his wife traveled from Honduras to Florida to be with family for the holidays. Loved ones tell FOX 13 News Carcamo recently had surgery and has been walking around the area to recuperate. Sunday afternoon, Carcamo was doing just that with his 35-year-old grandson, Gabriel Oliva.
“Decided to take a rest at the bus stop bench and actually they were getting ready to leave when it happened," said relative Ashley Preston.
St. Petersburg Police tells us just before 1PM, 78-year-old Louise Pequeno turned out of Disston Plaza and onto 49th Street North. According to investigators, Pequeno may have pulled in front of another SUV, but that driver didn’t stick around.
"It looks like they may have made contact, there is a scuff mark on the front of this vehicle, but it's so minor the driver of that vehicle may not have known they made contact," St. Petersburg Police Traffic Homicide Investigator, Officer Michael Jockers said.
Seconds later, we're told Pequeno drove off the roadway and straight into the bus stop, stepping on the gas and not the brakes. The Honda CRV slammed into Carcamo and Oliva.
“She saw the vehicle coming, believed that she had enough room,” said Jockers. “It’s difficult to judge her capacity right now because she is in a state of shock at this point."
Carcamo was critically injured in the wreck, he was rushed to the hospital, but didn't make it. Oliva is recovering from a broken leg.
“He actually saw the car swerving and he hurried up and tried to get out of the way, and was saying ‘hurry up, Abuelo, there’s a car,’ and he couldn’t get him out of the way before the car was on top of them," Preston said.
She calls Carcamo a hero for stepping in front of Oliva before being hit by the SUV. The family is heartbroken and leaning on each other for support.
“He was an inspiration to me, a very hard worker,” said Geraldo Oliva.
"They're in a lot of pain, my Mother-in-Law, my Grandma, everybody's just really hurt, really hurt,” Preston said. “But we're really blessed to have my Brother-in-Law, very blessed."
Loved ones say Pequeno was driving carelessly, and they have a lot of questions.
"We're very angry, very angry, and hurt you know, because that's a life and it can't be replaced," said Preston.
It's still early in the investigation, but so far Pequeno is not facing any charges for the wreck.
Police want to talk with the driver of that other SUV who may have been involved in the crash.