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Canoga Park man remembered after death in hit-and-run crash

Five days after a hit-and-run crash claimed the life of 20-year-old Abraham Martel, friends and family gathered to remember the Canoga Park resident and call for accountability from the driver who hit him.

Martel, who also is known as Nelson Abraham Casteneda, was driving a Lexus sedan that was struck by a black Dodge Ram 1500 pickup truck just before 12:30 a.m. Tuesday near the intersection of De Soto Avenue and Vanowen Street in Canoga Park.

Martel was declared dead at the scene, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

“He was the sweetest soul, the best friend that anybody could ever ask for, the best uncle, the best brother,” said Tessa Cardenas, Martel’s sister. “He just cared about everybody, he was always laughing and always smiling.”

Meanwhile, police are continuing to search for the driver of the pickup, who fled the scene on foot after the crash.

“I think it’s cowardly and I think that he should’ve stayed and that it’s not fair, it’s not fair,” Cardenas said.

Police are not sure if drugs or alcohol were a factor, but they believe the pickup was traveling more than 80 mph before the collision.

“It’s an unfortunate situation for such young man to be taken away from us,” said Diana Morales, a relative of Martel’s. “He had so much to live for and he had so many goals to accomplish. Unfortunately, it’s not going to happen anymore because of somebody’s bad choice.”

Cardenas also had strong words for the other driver.

“I want him to know that he ruined our family, and I want him to know that he needs to come forward because this isn’t OK and it shouldn’t have been Abraham,” she said.

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