Mario De Paz Hurtarte
Mario De Paz Hurtarte, 20 of Buford was arrested following two hit and run accidents.  Photo – Gwinnett PD

BUFORD — A Lawrenceville man was struck while walking in a crosswalk in front of a Buford Wal-Mart.  Officers from the North Precinct were dispatched to the Wal-Mart located at 3250 Sardis Church Rd. in unincorporated Buford on Sunday, October 27 at approximately 7:30 a.m. in regard to a pedestrian accident.

The initial investigation found that Geoffrey Frankovich, age 65 of Lawrenceville, was in the crosswalk in front of the store when he was struck by a silver Nissan Versa.  The driver of the Nissan, Mario De Paz Hurtarte, age 20 of Buford, fled the scene of the accident.

According to a couple of Walmart employees who witnessed the incident, Hurtarte was driving at a high rate of speed for a parking lot when he struck Frankovich.  Frankovich, who was an employee at that Walmart, was unresponsive on the scene but was breathing.

De Paz Hurtarte was involved in another hit and run after striking Frankovich.  This time the hit and run was at the intersection of Hamilton Mill Road and Sardis Church Road.  There were no serious injuries sustained in the second accident.

Hurtarte was arrested nearby and upon questioning, Hurtarte admitted to hitting Frankovich.  According to the police report, Hurtarte said that as he was driving home from work when Frankovich stepped out in front of him and he did not have time to stop. He told the officer that he continued to drive to look for help. He then decided to turn around to return to the scene when the second accident occurred.

The investigating officer located a stack of temporary Alabama license plates.  Hurtarte claimed that “he was issued a temporary Alabama tag every month by the dealership so that he would not have to register the vehicle.”

Damage was also found on Hurtarte’s vehicle from the pedestrian accident.  There was fresh damage to the hood and windshield of the Nissan Versa, as well as, glass on the dashboard.

Mr. Frankovich was transported to a local hospital for treatment of his injuries.  He later succumbed to his injuries passing away on November 5.

Hurtarte was arrested and initially charged with Reckless Driving, Hit and Run, No License Plate, Improper Class of License, and Failure to Obey Traffic Control Device.  Additional charges could be forthcoming.

— Staff Reports

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