[PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Weaver Family]
[Original Publish Date: 05/17/20]
MOUNT DORA, Florida — Sunday marks one year since a man allegedly hit and killed a 21-year-old Mount Dora man and left the scene, and Saturday the Florida Highway Patrol arrested him for the crime.
Marcelo Junior Sauceda was booked into the Orange County Jail Saturday, accused of hitting Demossi Jarrod Weaver in the early morning hours of May 17, 2019, and leaving him to die. Weaver was crossing County Road 500A also known as Old U.S. Highway 441 near Harris Road in the Mount Dora area of Orange County when he was struck by pickup truck being driven by Sauceda, who was 31 at the time. Sauceda failed to stop and render aid to Weaver, and fled the scene, according to an arrest report. Weaver was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs when he was struck.
Pieces of the truck that struck Weaver were collected at the scene and later matched to Sauceda’s truck, according to the arrest report. Weaver’s father, Rodrick Weaver, asked around and received information about the truck that may have hit him. He found the truck at 945 Vincent Drive, Mount Dora, Sauceda’s listed address, and called law enforcement, he told Lake Legal News. Troopers responded and found damage consistent with a pedestrian strike and had the vehicle towed to an FHP station in Orlando. Later that evening Sauceda, attempted to turn himself in at the Lake County Jail, but declined to speak with a trooper after being read his rights.
A few days after the crash, a family member of Weaver’s confronted Sauceda and said, “You know you hit Demossi,” and Sauceda reportedly replied, “I didn’t know it was Demossi. I hit another person and left because I was scared.”
In January, FHP obtained a search warrant for Sauceda’s cell phone records and triangulation data. The data showed Sauceda was in the area of the fatal hit-and run between 5:14 a.m. and 5:36 a.m. the morning of the crash; the crash occurred at 5:19 a.m. It is unclear what happened in the 17 minutes between the crash and the time Sauceda’s phone left the area. LLN was unable to reach FHP Sunday for clarification.
LLN spoke to Weaver’s mother Karena Mabry on Sunday, exactly one year since the fatal crash. She has mixed emotions about Sauceda’s arrest. “It was a brief happiness, then a depression,” she told LLN.
Mabry said her son was always smiling and often went to church with her. “He was always full of laughs,” she said. “He didn’t want anybody else to be uncomfortable.” Weaver was the baby of the family, the youngest of Mabry’s four children. “Never did he miss any Mother’s Day,” she noted.
Weaver’s father, Rodrick Weaver told LLN his son never missed a Father’s Day or his birthday either and he was very responsible. “He was someone you could depend on, no matter what.”
A lover of basketball, Demossi Weaver was working for Massey Services, Inc. at the time of his death, and was saving to go to college, his father said.
Rodrick Weaver said he was glad about Sauceda’s arrest, but his son is still gone. “It makes me feel better,” he said, “but it doesn’t change that I lost my son. He can’t be replaced by someone going to jail.”
Weaver’s father said he wishes Sauceda would have stopped and checked on his son. “If he would have stopped, it’s possible my son would still be here.”
Rodrick Weaver spoke with LLN about the irony of the arrest taking place just one day before the one-year mark of his son’s death.
He said he prayed many times throughout this ordeal and asked for a resolution within a year. “I thank God He answered my prayers.”
Our Editor-in-Chief, Marilyn M. Aciego, began writing for Lake Legal News in 2010. Born and raised in Lake County, she is a graduate of Umatilla High School and Lake-Sumter State College. She started her journalism career at LSSC, where she was editor of both student publications, The Angler and The Odyssey. Her professional career began at the Daily Commercial in 2004 where she covered cops and courts the majority of her time there until she left in 2009. Currently, along with being Editor-in-Chief of Lake Legal News, she is the Florida bureau chief for an international media organization. She has made more than two dozen appearances on live national television, including Nancy Grace and the Greta Van Susteren show, along with her appearance on Evil Twins. Contact her with breaking news, tips, and feedback by sending an e-mail to 352Tips@gmail.com. You can also contact us on our Facebook page — and make sure you “Like” and “Follow us” there. [PHOTO CREDIT: Bonnie Whicher]