VERONA, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — Police are looking for witnesses of a hit-and-run that killed a beloved town icon in Verona, New Jersey.
His calligraphy is on almost every road in Verona, from the signs that greet you into town to the ones that lure you to its coffee.
As CBS2’s Ali Bauman reported, it seems that everyone in town knew sign designer Matthew Benduce McGrath, and it seems they are all hurting after he was killed leaving his shop — Benegrath Sign Design Shop — at 9:30 on Friday night.
The driver of a white van hit McGrath crossing Bloomfield Ave toward Hillcrest, and never stopped.
“He would cross the street. He would wait in the middle of the street for the cars to pass and then he would cross over,” Marilyn Stavros said.
McGrath was pronounced dead just a half hour later. After 6 days there have been no arrests. Police are searching for witnesses who may have some answers.
Friends said the mystery surrounding McGrath’s death is almost as painful as the loss.
“Everybody can’t believe it, it’s like surreal,” Stavros said.
The artist brought Verona to life with his pristine detail and vibrant colors. The 59-year-old husband, and father was as much a part of the town as the signs that line it.
“The county. He has his mark all over, and he’s missed terribly right now. I miss him already,” Marianne McNamara said.
“All the lettering here on my windows. He did all my windows, the front door, and the glass you see. I was big into Harley Davidson so he wanted to make me a sign that was black, orange, and gold,” Jack McNamara, Jack’s Cafe, said.
While Matt’s shop doors were closed on Thursday, outside loved ones were leaving signs of their own so his passion lives on.