The pedestrian struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver in St. Paul Friday was a 68-year-old deaf man from St. Paul.
John Benjamin didn’t drive and walked many places, according to people who knew him.
Police said Monday they’re still searching for the driver who hit Benjamin on Friday night in the Conway neighborhood on the border with Maplewood.
“They have to catch the person who did this and they have to be held accountable … for leaving him for dead,” said Rick Riley, a friend of Benjamin’s who helped look after him.
Benjamin was struck by a vehicle shortly before 8:40 p.m. Friday when he was walking at Margaret Street and McKnight Road. He lived in the area.
“The person who hit him drove away, but not before leaving behind some evidence,” police said in a statement Monday. It was a platinum gray passenger-side exterior mirror that was likely from a Chevrolet Malibu with a model year between 1997 and 2003. The car may also have front-end damage.
Police are asking anyone with information to call them at 651-266-5549.
Benjamin was recently having a harder time walking around as he was getting older — he would have turned 69 next week — and Riley said he was trying to offer him rides more often.
On Friday, Benjamin asked for a ride and Riley told him they’d probably go later that evening or in the morning. Benjamin set off on his own — he may have been going to or from the liquor store, according to Riley, who said he’s now feeling depressed about putting the ride off.
A neighbor remembered Benjamin as a sweet man who always had a smile on his face.
“He’s a very kind, nice guy,” Riley added. “He’s going to be greatly missed.”
Friday’s crash brought to mind for some people a fatal hit-and-run that occurred just over a mile away in September. Choulykor Vue, 26, died after a driver struck him on Lakewood Drive near Maryland Avenue in Maplewood.
The case remains unsolved, but would be reopened for investigation if anyone comes forward with new information, said Maplewood police Sgt. Joe Steiner.