Suspect in attempted hit-and-run kills young Dallas mother

News 8's Marie Saavedra has more.

DALLAS -- A Dallas driver is in jail after hitting and killing a young mother in a parking lot and attempting to leave the scene.

Juan Carlos Valasquez, 47, is charged with causing an accident that lead to the death of 24-year-old Maricruz Gonzales-Cortes. It happened Sunday evening at a strip mall near Westmoreland Road and Illinois Avenue in southwest Dallas.

Gonzales-Cortes was finishing up at a laundromat with her husband, Cleofas Santa Maria, and their 15-month old-daughter, Yoaly. He took the baby back to the car, and Gonzales-Cortes was behind them with their clothes. Surveillance video shows a driver in the parking lot reverse at a high rate of speed, hitting another truck and pinning Gonzales-Cortez.

The video shows her husband run back to her side, carrying their baby in her car seat. Eventually, a crowd gathers and tries to push the truck off of his wife.

Santa Maria told News 8 when he touched his wife, she was already cold.

Velasquez stepped out of his truck soon after the crash, but surveillance captures him beginning to back away from the scene until he's out of the camera's view. Seconds later, the crowd starts running to catch him. Witnesses held Velasquez until police arrived.

Gonzales-Cortes' sister says she can’t believe his cowardice.

"The other people was helping and he was running away [...] and that’s a coward," Yolanda Gonzales said.

Gonzales now sees her sister’s broken family as a reminder of how quickly the people with so much love left to give can be lost.

"Be happy with your family, because you don’t know when it’s your last day," she said.

Velasquez is now in the Dallas County Jail with a $100,000 bond.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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