Chambers County deadly hit-and-run rocks community, authorities search for suspected driver

CHAMBERS COUNTY, Texas - A tragic hit-and-run incident on February 5 left one woman dead and her spouse critically injured after being struck by a vehicle while running on a small road in Chambers County.

The incident occurred off State Highway 61 in Anahuac, prompting an ongoing search for the responsible party by local and state authorities.

The victims, identified as Rene Mentillo, 61, and her spouse, Kelly Mentillo, 56, were regular walkers along State Highway 61, near Barrow White Road in Anahuac.

<div>Photo of Rene Mentillo, the Chambers County woman killed in a hit-and-run incident Feb 5. (Family submitted photo)</div>
Photo of Rene Mentillo, the Chambers County woman killed in a hit-and-run incident Feb 5. (Family submitted photo)

Austin Oxendine, the couple's son, described the route as familiar to his parents and typically low in traffic at the times they walked.

"It feels like a bad dream. That's honestly what it feels like. A bad dream," Oxendine said.

<div>Kelly Mentillo (left) with son Austin Oxendine and her spouse, Rene Mentillo (right) (family submitted photo).</div>
Kelly Mentillo (left) with son Austin Oxendine and her spouse, Rene Mentillo (right) (family submitted photo).

The tragic incident occurred on the 14th anniversary of the couple's first date. According to the Chambers County Sheriff's Office, a vehicle traveling southbound on State Highway 61 veered off the roadway, striking the women. Rene Mentillo was pronounced dead at the scene, while Kelly Mentillo was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in critical condition.

Debbie Vennelli, a family friend, condemned the actions of the hit-and-run driver.

"You just don't do that. No caring. You don't just leave people to die. Accidents happen, but you just don't do that," Vennelli said. "They're down-to-earth, loving people. They would give you the shirt off their back. Anything you ever needed, they were there." The couple enjoyed running marathons, fishing and riding motorcycles together.

Authorities have disclosed that evidence found at the scene suggests the suspect's vehicle is a 2019 to 2024 Chevy Silverado or GMC Sierra, potentially missing a passenger-side mirror.

<div>According to evidence found at the scene, the suspect vehicle has been identified as likely a 2019 to 2024 year model Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra. The suspect vehicle will be missing the entirety of the passenger side mirror. There is a possibility that the suspect vehicle is white or silver (Chambers County Sheriff's Facebook)</div>
According to evidence found at the scene, the suspect vehicle has been identified as likely a 2019 to 2024 year model Chevrolet Silverado or GMC Sierra. The suspect vehicle will be missing the entirety of the passenger side mirror. There is a possibility that the suspect vehicle is white or silver (Chambers County Sheriff's Facebook)

Additionally, investigators believe the vehicle could be white or silver. They urge anyone with information or sighting of a matching pickup truck to contact the Chambers County Sheriff's Office or Crimestoppers.

As the investigation unfolds, Oxendine remains hopeful for justice while navigating what happened.

"Bringing this person to justice, if or when my mom can wake up, can help build her up a little bit at a time. Anything helps," Oxendine said.