Family holds vigil for victims of fatal Hartford hit-and-run

HARTFORD – Hartford Police are still searching for the driver who hit and killed a young woman Tuesday night on Vine Street. The family has not only been grieving but they want that person to be held responsible.

A vigil was held Saturday night to ask for the community’s support.

On Tuesday night, Tina Fontanez, 24, of Hartford and Catalina Melendez, 23, of Hartford had just come back from roller skating, one of their favorite hobbies. Shortly after they stepped out of the cab, a car hit both of them.

Just minutes later, both girls were rushed to St. Francis Hospital with serious injuries but Fontanez died at 10:20 p.m.

Police found an abandoned Acura near the scene and evidence showed it was involved in a crash. That same night, police said Lorenzo Ivery, 25, showed up to the police department to report a stolen car all while there was glass on his hair and clothes. That is when police learned he was the passenger in the car that hit Fontanez and Melendez.

“It’s like a bomb went off and just … quiet and I can’t really hear or feel things,” said Amanda Fontanez, sister of Tina.

Friends and family at the vigil wore t-shirts with a picture of Fontanez on it.

“She’s very loyal. You need something, she will be there. She loved her music, she loved laughing,” said Shanice Douglas, a close friend of Fontanez.

“I wake up in the morning and I look over the couch and she’s not there,” said Viryen Raynor, aunt of Fontanez.

Tina’s sister, Amanda said she wants to see the city make changes such as: putting speed bumps, signs for pedestrians and better street lighting.

“They have to get ahead of things. They can’t just do it when it happens or after the fact,” said Amanda Fontanez.

Of the Fontanez’s closest family members had this message for her niece that was gone too soon.

“Baby, I love you. Party like a rockstar. You always said if there’s a tragedy like this, don’t cry. These are happy tears,” added Raynor.