NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A search was under way Sunday evening for a hit-and-run driver who killed a beloved grandfather on Staten Island.
As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, the victim was walking home early Sunday at the corner of Hecker Street and Amboy Road in the Tottenville section of Staten Island, when he was struck by a vehicle and simply left on the pavement to die.
Police said Daniel Nelson, 59, a father and grandfather who goes by Danny, suffered head trauma when he was struck around 2 a.m., Instead of checking on Nelson or calling for help, the heartless driver simply took off, police said.
Emergency crews rushed Nelson to Staten Island University Hospital, but it was too late to save him.
Witness Lynn Burkley was home at the time.
“I was laying on my couch and I heard it sounded like a thump, and like a hubcap fell off the car,” she said.
Burkley said the scene was horrible.
“I came out, the poor gentleman was lying in the street with that metal barricade on top of him,” she said.
Tottenville had held a Flag Day parade on Amboy Road Saturday hours before the crash. Some pedestrian barricades were still lining the street at the time.
Neighbors described Nelson as an animal lover, who fed birds and squirrels outside his home about a mile from the crash scene.
“He used to help the kids next door with their bikes all the time,” said neighbor Paula Bereza.
Neighbors want the driver to admit what happened.
“Turn yourself in, because this is the lowest of the low. It wasn’t raining. It wasn’t like you couldn’t figure out that you hit the poor guy,” Bereza said. “He was not a small man, you know, that you would just bump him and keep going. You had to know that you did this. Turn yourself in and, you know, do the right thing.”
Neighbors said cars speed up and down Amboy Road all the time, often going double the 25 mph speed limit.
“It’s just heartbreaking that this happened, but there’s been times that I’ve been walking with my son at people speed up, and I have a stroller in front of me and you hear them rev their engines and speed up,” said Alycia Kocsis.
Police do not have a useful description of the vehicle. The NYPD has put up a portable sign urging witnesses to come forward and call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS.