Man accused of running over attorney faces new charges

'For me, nothing will be fair enough,' widow says

SUNNY ISLES BEACH, Fla. – After Joseph Franco was back in jail Wednesday evening, a widow was still in mourning. She had been waiting for about eight months for prosecutors to charge her husband's killer, but the news didn't offer much relief, she said. 

Franco was in a Honda Odyssey on Collins Avenue in Sunny Isles Beach when he ran over Amir Pelleg, killing him July 2018, police said. The 34-year-old attorney was with his two daughters, 2-year-old Aviva and 6-year-old Ariella, and his wife, Zulma Guillot Pelleg.

The two girls were injured and his wife was in a coma. Guillot Pelleg said when she woke up, she thought her husband was at work. She didn't realize he had been killed in the crash. 

"After all this time, I still haven't fully processed that he is not coming back," Guillot Pelleg said. 

Franco, 27, had been under house arrest. He surrendered after prosecutors charged him with DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide, three counts of DUI causing serious bodily injury and three counts of reckelss driving with serious bodily injury.

"After all this time, I still haven't fully processed that he is not coming back," Zulma Guillot Pelleg says of her husband.

"I don't remember anything, because we were walking and the car hit us from the back," Guillot Pelleg said.

Franco had already been charged with tampering with physical evidence. Authorities confirmed detectives' suspicions that he had been under the influence of "whippets," an inhalant drug, after witnesses said he threw away a duffel bag with 12 used nitrous oxide metal cannisters. 

"It's very hard for me to see my family destroyed, so for me, nothing will be fair enough," Guillot Pelleg said. 

About the Authors:

Roy Ramos joined the Local 10 News team in 2018. Roy is a South Florida native who grew up in Florida City. He attended Christopher Columbus High School, Homestead Senior High School and graduated from St. Thomas University.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.