Family of victim in deadly hit-and-run speaks out

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — The family of the man who was killed in a fatal hit-and-run crash in Cleveland Friday is speaking out.

Vilma Gabriel and her 68-year-old husband, Camilo, were on the way to his doctor’s appointment at MetroHealth Medical Center around 3 Friday afternoon.

The couple was in the crosswalk at West 25th Street and Woodbridge Avenue when the driver of a white SUV struck Camilo, knocking him to the ground.

“I was crying and crying and I said ‘please don’t leave me, Camilo,'” Vilma said.

Camilo died from his injuries.

Vilma said she would’ve been hit and killed too, but her husband pushed her out of the way just in time.

“He saved my life, otherwise we would be dead, both of us. I love so much my husband. He was a wonderful husband,” Vilma said.

Cleveland police say they’re looking for the driver of a white SUV, possibly a Chevy Trailblazer, with tinted windows and a temporary license plate.

“I saw him and he had a little black beard,” Vilma said.

Vilma said she looked right at the driver’s eyes and describes him as a black man between 20 and 30 years old with a beard.

She said he was holding a cell phone.

“That kind of person shouldn’t have a driver’s license,” Vilma said.

As extended family gathered around Vilma and her family, Camilo’s son, Rafael Pedro, said his dad will be missed by many people.

“He was a very good man and very giving. When you have someone who is very giving taken from you it’s not fair, it’s not fair,” Pedro said.

Pedro said police plan to look at other surveillance cameras in the area of the hit and run.

He has these words for the driver.

“Just come forward. Just say, ‘look, I apologize. It’s an accident.’ That’s needed at this point,” Pedro said.

Vilma and Camilo were looking forward to celebrating their 39th wedding anniversary this Thursday.

Now, Vilma will be attending her husband’s wake on Thursday instead.

Camilo’s family will hold a prayer vigil Monday at 6 p.m. at the scene of the accident.

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