Richard Nackowski: Great-grandfather killed in hit-in-run crash, suspect might be in US illegally

Posted at 7:08 PM, Dec 30, 2016

Richard Nackowski is usually home for dinner around 5:15 every night.  He rides his motorcycle home from his job at a body shop.

Ricky Pelletier, Richard's grandson, started calling him around 5:30 p.m.

"We kept calling him, he didn't answer, he didn't answer. By the time it got dark, we knew something was wrong," Ricky tells NewsChannel 5.

Ricky and his brother went out looking for him. They noticed the Old Palm City Bridge was backed up with traffic. A police officer told them the heartbreaking news.

"I just wanted to tell him that I love him and we all love him. And my brother knows that and he's in a better place," Ricky says.

The Florida Highway Patrol says 50-year-old Antonio Rubio-Sanchez was driving with his 3 kids, ages 4 to 14 years old, when he tried to merge into Nackowski's lane.

Instead, investigators say he rear-ended the 73-year-old's motorcycle, knocking Nackowski off, killing the great-grandfather at the scene.

FHP says Rubio-Sanchez never stopped and drove home without trying to help. But someone who saw the crash, called 911 and followed him, something FHP doesn't recommend.

"The driver of vehicle one observed that the witness was following him and started driving erratic," FHP Sergeant Ray Wigfall.

The witness backed off but it wasn't long before the authorities arrested Rubio-Sanchez.

Ricky knows his grandfather is grateful for the good Samaritan.

"He did the right thing. There should be more people like that. I thank whoever it was who did follow him get the license plate leading to his arrest," Ricky says.

Richard is remembered as a family man who loved to bowl and play cards.

"He lived for his family and he was just the best kind of person. He was genuinely a good person," Ricky says. "He just didn't deserve this. Everybody loves him and he loves everyone."

The family is still working on funeral arrangements but if you would like to help the family out with funeral costs, click here

FHP is awaiting test results whether alcohol was a factor in this crash. Rubio-Sanchez doesn't have a drivers license. Investigators say he also could be in this country illegally.

Right now, Rubio Sanchez is facing 2 felony charges