Family of 77-year-old Phoenix man killed by hit-and-run driver wants answers

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Ignacio Duarte-Rodriguez was crossing the street when he was hit and killed by a driver, who took off, police said. (Source: Felipe Duarte-Rodriguez) Ignacio Duarte-Rodriguez was crossing the street when he was hit and killed by a driver, who took off, police said. (Source: Felipe Duarte-Rodriguez)
Scene near 43rd Avenue and Maryland where Ignacio Duarte-Rodriguez, 77, was struck and killed by a car when crossing the street. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Scene near 43rd Avenue and Maryland where Ignacio Duarte-Rodriguez, 77, was struck and killed by a car when crossing the street. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Phoenix police are asking the public for information about a hit-and-run crash that killed a 77-year-old man Friday night.

According to Sgt. Alan Pfohl with the Phoenix Police Department, the man, identified as Ignacio Duarte-Rodriguez, was crossing north 43rd Avenue near Maryland Avenue at about 9 p.m. when he was struck by a car traveling northbound.

When I got that call everything kinda just sank,” recalls the victim’s grandson, Ricardo Duarte.

He was apparently going to his favorite neighborhood market.

Pfohl said the driver of the car failed to stop and continued north. 

“For him to just want a simple cigarette and he walked out that door and that was it,” said Ricardo.

Ignacio was taken to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead. Pfohl said he was not in a crosswalk when he was struck. 

His son, Felipe Duarte-Rodriguez, said the meat market is a popular one in the neighborhood and many of the people in the area walk there frequently. But there is no crosswalk at the intersection.

“It's not fair. And we need something to do here on this street,” said Felipe.

“He was a happy man, he loved the life he had all the time, was kidding with grandsons and he was a real nice guy,” said Ricardo.

Their grief is multiplied, they are angry and devastated that someone hit their loved one and just took off.

“Not knowing is what's hurting the most,” said Ricardo.

Felipe said if there was a crosswalk, it might have prevented his father's death and he hopes after this tragedy, the City might consider a crosswalk at that location.

"I love him. I don't have him anymore but I wish to do something because a lot of people are in danger, like my father. And somebody ran him over and we can't find that guy," said Felipe.

“That stretch of road is crossed by hundreds if not thousands of people every day and this isn't the first fatal crash. I want to be honest, I hope this is the last,” said Ricardo.

The car is described as a small sedan, possibly a 2006-2008 Chevy Malibu.

“For him to just want a simple cigarette and he walked out that door and that was it,” said Ricardo.

Anyone with information is asked to call Silent Witness at either 480-WITNESS (948-6377) or 1-800-343-TIPS (8477). Spanish speakers may call 480-TESTIGO (837-8446). (Click or tap phone number to call from this story on your mobile device.)

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