PHILADELPHIA - Philadelphia police are searching for a driver who they say fatally struck a deaf and mute man who was crossing the street late Wednesday night in North Philadelphia.
Roberto Oquendo Velez, 60, was crossing the 3300 block of North 2nd Street around 11 p.m. when he was struck with so much it knocked his shoes off, according to Philadelphia Police Department Chief Inspector Scott Small.
Roberto Oquendo Velez ( Family photo)
Valdez’s body was found by officers several hundred feet down the road. Small said Valdez suffered head trauma and bruising and died at the scene.
Captain Mark Overwise on Thursday described the striking vehicle as a 2001-2004 blue GMC Yukon or Denali. The suspect's car is believed to have damage to the front fender and headlight.
"We are very desperate to identify this driver and get him off the street," Overwise said.
Witnesses told police Valdez was dragged several hundred feet before he came loose from the car. Some accounts claim the driver exited the car and looked at the Velez before fleeing southbound on 2nd Street. Overwise said his team is investigating these claims.
According to the victim's family, Velez lived a block away from where he was fatally struck for over 30 years and may have been walking home.
Investigators are using cameras from nearby homes and businesses to further investigate the deadly hit-and-run.
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