Local News

Family Remembers 7-Year-Old Killed in Hit-and-Run

Posted April 15, 2008 11:26 p.m. EDT

—  A family of a 7-year-old boy, killed by a driver accused of being drunk at the wheel, is struggling to make sense of his death.

State troopers said Marcus Lassiter was trying to cross Heath Road, near his grandmother's house, when a car struck him Sunday evening.

A helicopter rushed him to Duke University Hospital in Durham.

"I was trying to stay optimistic for the most part. I just didn't want, I just didn't want to have to go through the pain I'm going through now," brother Kenny Sanders said.

Doctors declared Marcus brain dead and he was taken off life support Monday evening.

"He was happy, always happy. You've never seen him down, never seen him sad. Every time I saw him, he brought a smile to my face," Sanders said.

The driver, whom police know as Pollo Hernandez Rodriquez, was arrested after he tried to flee the scene, the state Highway Patrol said.

Rodriquez faces charges of felony hit and run, driving while impaired, driving without a license, driving a stolen car and causing serious injury with a motor vehicle.

The Highway Patrol said Tuesday they believe Rodriquez did not give them his real name. Troopers are trying to determine his identity to run a criminal background check. That will help determine what additional charges are appropriate, they said. 

Sanders said he wants justice for his brother, but that for now, he is focusing on his family.

"We lost somebody very near and dear to us, so to think of, to waste emotions on [Rodriquez] would be, you know, it would just be a waste," he said.

Rodriquez remained in jail Tuesday evening, held on a $1 million bond.

The Lassiter family told WRAL they plan to attend every Rodriquez court appearance.