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Suspect in deadly hit-and-run fails to show for plea, wife of victim wants him arrested

Holly Frankovich is offering a $5,000 reward of her own money for information leading to the suspect's arrest.

BUFORD, Ga. — A Gwinnett County woman thought she was going to finally get justice for her husband, who was killed in a hit-and-run crash in 2019. But the suspect, who's charged with vehicular homicide, never showed up to court this week to enter a plea deal. 

Holly Frankovich met her husband Geoffrey 23 years ago. The two were looking forward to enjoying retirement together until she got the tragic news he was clinging to life in the hospital. 

He was a successful medical executive and die-hard Steelers fan until his untimely death on Oct. 27 of 2019.

On that day, Geoff, an avid golfer, didn't show up for his outing with friends, Holly said.

“The police went to that Wal-Mart and found Geoff's car still in the parking lot and then learned from a witness of some sort that a person had been run over earlier that morning," she said. 

That person it turns out was the man she had been married to for 19 years. 

“He was the love of my life, my best friend," Holly said. ”He was on life support at that time and he never woke up. A week later, he passed away.”

Gwinnett County Police said Mario De Paz Hurtarte, who was 20 years old at the time of the hit and run, sped through the Wal-Mart parking lot in Buford as he got off work there. He wound up striking Geoff, and then taking off before getting into another crash. 

“He [Hurtarte] was reckless, careless, heartless, and now I would add malicious because he’s run," Holly said. 

Holly has been to every court date but said Hurtarte didn't show up or his plea deal on Tuesday.

“Getting justice for him is important, and I hope for my son and I, it will give me some closure," Holly said. 

For now, Holly prays she gets justice for Geoff as she holds memories of her best friend close to her heart. 

She's offering a $10,000 reward of her own money for information leading to the his arrest. Anyone who knows where Hurtarte may be is asked to contact the Gwinnett County Police Department at (770) 513-5000.

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