AKRON, Ohio — A family is heartbroken, outraged and calling for justice after a 69-year-old Cuyahoga Falls man was killed by a hit-skip driver near the University of Akron.
According to Akron police, a driver ran at a red light at the intersection of Exchange and Spicer Streets around 5:40 p.m. on Dec. 22 and struck Jerry Devers as he walked in the crosswalk.
Devers was taken to Summa Akron City Hospital where he died several hours later. The driver took off from the scene, investigators said.
The victim's sister, Linda Devers, said she has been struggling to eat and sleep since the tragedy.
"He was just a very sweet person and I can't believe somebody would just hit him and leave him in the middle of the street to die," she said while fighting through tears.
She described her brother as "a kind soul" who loved to walk everywhere. Several years ago, he won trophies for motocross and gained notoriety as a talented boxer.
"He was also the golden gloves state champion for boxing in 1971," Linda Devers said.
Family members put up a memorial— that includes flowers and a cross— on a pole near the area of the hit-and-run in an effort to honor Jerry and generate possible leads.
Relatives aren't sure where Jerry was heading that night, but said it was very common for him to walk all over town.
His niece, Anaise Mahon, believes cameras in the area may have captured the hit-skip and/or the driver fleeing the intersection.
"I don't know if the light was already red or if it had just turned red and they decided to floor it through the light, but they choose to go through that light," Mahon said.
Akron Lieutenant Michael Miller said the car was found and confiscated and officers have spoken to the owner, but the investigation is ongoing to figure out who was behind the wheel and if there will be charges.
"How can you do that? How can you sleep at night knowing that you killed an innocent person?" Linda Devers said.
The family urged the driver, witnesses, potential passengers in the car or anyone else with information to come forward.
"Turn yourself in. Do the right thing," Linda Devers said.
Summit County Crimestoppers offered a reward up to $2,000 for for information leading to the driver. Tipsters can remain anonymous when calling 330-434-COPS.
Mahon said her family will never be the same.
"He was one of the kindest souls you'd ever meet in your entire life. He would go above and beyond for just about anybody," she said.
Relatives also stressed they will not rest until there is justice for Jerry.
"I want the person to not sleep at night. That might sound cruel, but I can't sleep at night," Linda Devers said. "All I keep seeing is my brother face."
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