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Good Sams Lauded For Stopping Driver In Deadly SW Dade Hit & Run

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - A mother is grieving the loss of her son who died Thursday morning in a hit and run accident in southwest Miami-Dade.

In the early morning hours of Christmas Eve, 52-year old Steven Lester was struck and killed in the area of SW 218th Street and 112th Avenue.

Witnesses said the driver of the Mercedes that hit Lester, identified as 50-year old Adrian Rodriguez, stopped but only briefly.

"The guy stopped like 40 yards down, got out of the car went in the middle of the road and looked," said witness Octavius Hamilton.  "He then proceeded to run back to his car, get in his car, and try to leave."

Hamilton and another motorist were not going to allow it.

"I ran the Mercedes down, cut him off and I asked him to turn the car off," said Arturo Falconer, a second driver who pursued the fleeing Mercedes. "I asked him to get out of the car, sit in the back of the car, and wait for the officers to come."

Falconer and Hamilton said they took the driver's keys away from him to make certain he would not leave.

Falconer said that Rodriguez offered him a bribe if he would let him go. Falconer flatly turned the bribe down.

The victim, Steven Lester, is the older brother of Tim Lester who had a career in the NFL, playing fullback for the Rams, the Cowboys and the Steelers.

At the family home just a few blocks from the fatal accident, Lester's mother was too stricken to speak.

"I don't have the words. Right now I'm just trying to get myself together," said Robbie Lester, the dead man's mom.

The family said it was grateful for the good Samaritans who captured the alleged hit and run driver.  Police were, as well.

"Those good Samaritans did a favor.  At the same time they put their lives in danger as well, because they didn't know who that person was or if that person was armed," said Florida Highway Patrol trooper Indiana Villalonga.

Rodriguez was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving a death.

Investigators say there was no evidence Rodriguez was impaired, and the accident was not his fault because Lester was crossing in the middle of the block in the dark.

However, because he left the scene of an accident involving a fatality, Rodriguez is in very deep trouble with the law.

Leaving the scene of an accident where someone is killed or seriously injured carries a penalty of up to 30 years in prison, and requires a minimum mandatory sentence of no less than four years if convicted.

The good Samaritans, credited with capturing the hit-and-run suspect, shunned praise.

"It was just a good deed, something was done wrong and I did something about it," Hamilton said.

"I feel very sad for the family," said Falconer.  "I feel very sad for the family."

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