Family struck by car in hit-and-run crash in Fort Lauderdale Beach

Woman visiting from Georgia, 2 daughters struck by car; driver runs away

By Tim Swift - Local10.com Digital Editor, Janine Stanwood - Anchor/Reporter, Ian Margol - Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A woman and her two young daughters were struck by a car as they stood on a sidewalk Wednesday near Fort Lauderdale Beach, police said.

Claudia Martinez, a tourist from Georgia, said she was leaving the beach with her 4-year-old and 5-year-old daughters when a white BMW plowed into them about 7 p.m. at East Las Olas and Seabreeze boulevards.

"(The car) jumped the curb and hit the family," Bill Griswold, who saw the crash from the nearby Elbo Room bar, told Local 10 News. "I think it was a wagon the kids were sitting in. The kids popped up in there and landed."

Video from right after the crash shows one of the two young girls and her father getting treated by first responders.

Casey Liening, a spokeswoman for the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, said the driver crashed into several vehicles after hitting the Martinez family. He then abandoned his car and ran away, Leining said.

"After he hit us, he went -- he did a hit-and-run and went and hit another vehicle," Martinez said.

Claudia Martinez, who was visiting from Georgia, and her two daughters were struck by a hit-and-run driver in Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Witnesses at the Elbo Room said the driver was going the wrong way on Seabreeze Boulevard when he crashed into the other cars, including a Broward County Transit bus. 

Paramedics took Martinez and her daughters to Broward Health Medical Center for treatment. Martinez told Local 10 they have all been released from the hospital and they headed back to Georgia on Thursday.

Police are searching for the driver, Leining said.

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