SLC police identify suspect vehicle in hit-and-run death

Posted at 7:57 PM, Nov 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-27 13:12:39-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Salt Lake City police have identified the make and model of a car that hit and killed an elderly man Monday night.

They believe the suspect's vehicle is a silver 2002-2003 BMW 3 Series, either a 2-door coupe or convertible.

The victim was identified as 73-year-old Genaro Zanagoza-Valencia. He was removed from life support Tuesday after a hit-and-run crash near 1700 South and 1000 West.

"He was pretty bad, he was pretty bad, like his body was twisted up," said witness Mele Tukuafu.

Tukuafu said she saw a light-colored passenger car speeding away after police say a vehicle dragged Zanagoza-Valencia 75 feet. As the victim laid in critical condition on the pavement, Tukuafu tried to comfort him.

"I just cried and said prayers and I just said prayers, asked the Lord to bless him, and said ‘you'll be alive, you'll be alive to be with your family,’” she said.

However, Valencia died Tuesday.  Neighbors are stunned.   They described the victim as a friendly man who frequently walked the neighborhood and picked up aluminum cans.  Police say he was wearing dark clothes and wasn't in a crosswalk.

The driver may have not seen the victim but police say either way, that person should have stopped.

"The car's in pretty bad shape. That's why we know it's silver because of the items left behind at the scene," said Sgt. Robin Heiden with Salt Lake City police.

Police say the vehicle is possibly missing hub caps or has black rims. It also likely has front-end and side damage. Tukuafu didn't get a good look at the license plate but hopes the driver will do the right thing.

"He needs to come to the police and turn himself in because it's gonna eat him up," she said.

Police say if the driver would’ve fessed up they may have not face charges but that individual is looking at a felony charge that could also be enhanced because the victim passed away.

If you have any information that can help police in this case, please call Salt Lake City police at (801) 799-3000.