Hit-and-run driver destroyed man’s Golden Gate home while he slept

A crash so devastating, John Martel is on the brink of desperation.

“I wish it would have happened that way I wouldn’t have to go through this,” Martel said.

“You wish what would have happened?” Sydney Persing, a WINK News reporter, said in an interview.

“Died in that,” Martel, 67, said. “I never thought I’d say that in my life, but this is so heartbreaking.”

In the middle of the night, a hit-and-run driver destroyed a Golden Gate home.

“I worked my butt off to pay off this house and this is what I get it?” Martel said.

Now, Florida Highway Patrol troopers are searching for the driver of a Ford F150 that crashed in Martel’s truck with such force it plowed through the garage and into his room. FHP said the driver was running from another hit-and-run a few blocks away.

The driver ran away from the scene, leaving his truck, and leaving Martel trapped and afraid. Martel has no bed nor front door. Worst of all, Martel does not have insurance. For Martel, it is too much to handle. Through tears, Martel said he was scared for his safety.

Martel is alone, having outlived the rest of his family and said he has nowhere to turn. So, his neighbors, like Jeremy Morris, are stepping up to help. Morris has started a fundraiser and has physically helped clean up the mess someone left behind.

“He’s really not doing well and he needs everyone’s help,” Morris said.

A man, once so proud of the home he made for himself, now ca not stop thinking about all that he has lost.

“Let’s get out of here,” Martel said. “It breaks my heart.”

Reporter:Sydney Persing
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