WESTTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — The search is on for a hit-and-run driver who police said plowed into an elderly Orange County man as he was getting his mail on Monday.
Donald Wester, 86, was struck by a small silver sport-utility vehicle while standing at his mailbox just feet from his home on Route 1 in Westtown around 5 p.m., police said.
The vehicle took off, leaving Wester on the road, CBS 2’s Weijia Jiang reported.
Wester was transported to Westchester Medical Center in critical condition with head and spinal injuries. He died Tuesday morning, Jiang reproted.
State police were planning on holding a news conference to release more information.
Wester was a father of three. The retired Merchant Marine was known for being fiercely independent, Jiang reported, and trekked across Route 1 in Westtown daily to pick up his mail.
“He was just so welcoming, you know, he really was. He was a wonderful, wonderful man,” said family friend Ruth Brock. “I’m going to miss him.”
Added neighbor Bill Hanlon: “You wouldn’t want a nicer neighbor. He’s just a sweetheart of a man.”
Neighbors said Wester had growing concerns about crossing the road to get the mail, and typically did it in the middle of the morning, when traffic is slower.
“You can hear the traffic going by,” said neighbor Amy Hanlon. “It’s heavy traffic, and they go to fast.”
Investigators said the driver was a Caucasian woman with long hair. The suspect was driving a small, silver SUV, possibly a 2010 Nissan Murano or similar model.
“Whoever did this, please, just turn yourself in,” Brock said. “Make it easier for everybody else.”
The driver will face several charges, including leaving the scene of an accident, police said.
Anyone with any information on the case is asked to call 845-344-5300.
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