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Pedestrian killed in I-10 hit-and-run crash, family seeks answers

By Laura Yanez, News Reporter, Laura.Yanez@cbslocal2.com
Published On: Feb 26 2013 08:26:54 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 27 2013 12:12:16 AM CST

A night out took a turn for the worst when Antonio Salazar of thermal stepped out onto the freeway. We talked with his family who remember him as a loving father, brother and husband. Now they're asking for your help in tracking down the driver who took off so they can find closure.

INDIO, Calif. -


On Tuesday, Rachel Salazar talked News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 through her family's nightmare from Saturday night. She says it all began when her brother, Antonio Salazar, 27, and his wife Angelina, of Thermal, left a nightclub in Indio. Antonio got emotional after having too much to drink, she said.

He then jumped out of the passenger's seat of the car on Interstate 10. Angelina tried but couldn't get him back in the car. Scared, she left him and went to get Rachel for help. Rachel and her husband arrived, and Angelina stayed at home.

"We see him walking on the side of the road and he's looking at me and I'm telling him to come on and he's telling me, 'No I don't want to,'" said his sister.

On the phone with his wife, Salazar, the father of three little girls, stood in the middle of the freeway.

"The last words he said were, 'You don't care.' I said, 'I do care. I love you.' All I heard was (Rachel) screaming and 'boom,' the phone went out," said Angelina.

Family members said Salazar walked across the freeway in front of Fantasy Springs in Indio, into the fast lane, where one vehicle swerved to avoid him and the vehicle behind it struck him.

The California Highway Patrol said the driver got away, but the crash broke one of the headlights.

"I just want to know and find somebody who knows who killed him to bring my babies some justice," said Salazar's wife.

The family placed a cross with flowers where the incident happened in his honor.

They are now offering a $1,000 reward for information.

"If that person would just find it in their heart because we're grieving and hurting," said Yvette Valdiviez, Salazar's cousin.

To help pay for his funeral, family and friends will hold a car wash for Salazar at 9 a.m. on Saturday, at 7-Eleven on Highway 111 in Indio.

Police are asking for your help. If you have any information that could help solve this crime, call Valley Crimestoppers at 760-341-STOP.