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St. Petersburg family determined to find driver accused of hit-and-run accident that killed love one

ST. PETERSBURG — They know he's out there. They just don't know where.

To catch the man police said is responsible for killing 74-year-old Michael Cerone in a hit-and-run crash Aug. 1, his friends and family are canvassing every business and street corner they can.

They hope the public will help them find Lorenzo Jamar Marlene Lynch, the 19-year-old unlicensed driver police said ran a red light and crashed his girlfriend's Mitsubishi into Cerone's Pontiac.

Cerone, who was not wearing a seat belt, was sent flying from his vehicle. He died two days later. Lynch ran from the scene, leaving a trail of blood, police said.

Cerone's family has turned grief into action.

For the second weekend in a row, the family will cover as much of the city as they can with graphic fliers showing Lynch's mug shot against a photo of Cerone on a hospital bed after the crash.

"Fugitive wanted for the hit and run on 8/1/2011 causing the death of Michael Cerone," the flier reads. "Please call St. Pete Police with any info."

"We've gone to Parkside Mall, the Tyrone area, grocery stores, hair and nail salons, small businesses, laundromats — basically wherever we can hang them up," said niece Amanda Graham, 23.

Today, they will target pawnshops.

"Basically anywhere he might have gone, that's where we want these signs," said niece Teresa Clovis, 47. "We're trying anything we can think of."

Family members said St. Petersburg residents have been receptive, but police said they haven't gotten a single tip.

"We've followed just about every lead we had," said St. Petersburg's police traffic commander, Lt. Bill Korinek. "We just don't have much solid information."

Two off-duty police officers took fliers on their own to hospitals in case Lynch seeks treatment for his injuries. Police don't know where or how badly Lynch was injured. They just know they found his blood at the scene, which helped identify him as the suspect.

Korinek said the family's level of involvement is unusual, but inspiring.

Even before Cerone's memorial service arrangements had been set, the family hired a plane to tow a banner around the city over the city: "Lorenzo Lynch: Fugitive on the run. Call police w/ info!"

They began crafting the fliers shortly thereafter.

For them, justice and closure go hand in hand, Graham said.

"We're a tight family," she said. "We stick together, and good or bad, we're not going to give up until we find him. He can't run forever."

Reach Marissa Lang at mlang@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3386.

St. Petersburg family determined to find driver accused of hit-and-run accident that killed love one 08/26/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 5:01pm]
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