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Tuesday, Sep 18, 2018
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Tampa police: duo wanted in fatal hit-and-run caught in Pasco woods

TAMPA — Two people accused of hitting and killing a pedestrian and then fleeing the crash scene this weekend were taken into custody Wednesday, according to Tampa police.

Tracy Evereth Wood, 31, and Miriam Marti-Benning, 43, were found camping in the woods in Pasco County, police said, trying to hide from the authorities.

The incident took place shortly after noon on Saturday: Wood was driving a white Honda Civic west on W Hillsborough Avenue near Dale Mabry Highway, police said. Marti-Benning was the passenger. The car left the roadway, struck a sign and an electrical box, police said, then bore down on two pedestrians, Felix De la Uz and his wife, Narda Vazquez Ruiz.

De la Uz, 80, pushed his wife out of the way of the oncoming Honda, police said, sacrificing himself to save his wife. The car struck and killed him.

The car stopped about 500 feet away, police said, and then the pair ran away.

Detectives said they later determined that Marti-Benning called a friend to pick them up and drive them out of the area. Marti-Benning also got money so the pair could stay in a hotel that night.

After that, they slept in the woods off Interstate 75 near Wesley Chapel Boulevard in Pasco County.

That’s where police said they were found Wednesday.

Marti-Benning told detectives that even though she knew someone had died in the crash, she "continued to assist the driver with evading law enforcement."

Wood faces felony charges of leaving the scene of a crash involving death and driving without a license involving death, according to jail records. He was being held Thursday in the Hillsborough County jail in lieu of $35,000 bail.

Marti-Benning faces a felony charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving death. She was being held in lieu of $25,000 bail.

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