Woman agonizes over hit-skip death of son in Canton, urges the public for tips on the driver

Posted at 1:17 PM, Jul 20, 2016

Every day since June 30, Rachel Thornton looks for Chevy Impalas on local roadways, and after spotting one, she wonders if that's the car that hit and killed her oldest son, Christian Thornton.

It's an agonizing feeling for the 40-year-old mother, knowing the driver remains free after leaving her son dead in a Canton intersection in the middle of the night.

"Why would you just let him lay there? He wasn't a piece of trash. I'm sorry. He wasn't and he was laying on the side of the road like a piece of trash," she said.

Christian was walking home from a new job at Case Farms when he was struck by a car while crossing 30th Street at Market Avenue around 1:47 a.m.

Rachel told that Christian, 24, was a caring, imaginative man who adored his 6-year-old daughter, Natalie. He also loved nature and was a talented musician.

"He was my son and I loved him. I would have done anything for him. He had a brother and a sister. They loved him as well. If I could trade places with him right now, I would," she said.

Part of a broken fog lens cover was left the scene, but the driver fled the area.

Ohio State Patrol troopers were able to determine the car part came from a 2000-2005 Chevy Impala. The color of the vehicle is unknown.

Lt. Leo Shirkey said investigators received 12 to 15 tips of vehicles with front-end damage on the driver's side, but none matched the description of the car in the deadly hit and run.

"That's a pretty callous person. This is something, he knows what he did. He or she knows what they did. This is something they're going to have to live with. Hopefully, their conscious will get to them and they will turn themself in," Shirkey said.

Shirkey explained the vehicle may also have damage to the fender, hood and windshield.

Rachel has plastered flyers throughout the area asking for help. The flyers show a color picture of Christian and a photo of what the car may look like.

She's hoping that someone will come forward with information that will identify the driver, bring justice to her family and allow Christian to rest in peace.

"What if this was your family member? What would you be feeling? How would you feel if somebody left them there and nobody came forward? It eats at my every day. I want this person caught."

Even though the hit-skip happened in Stark County, Summit County Crimestoppers is offering a reward up to $2,000 for information leading to the driver. Tipsters should call 330-434-COPS or the Canton OSP Post at 330-433-6200.