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Family pleads for hit-and-run driver to come forward

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Richmond police are trying to find the driver who hit and killed a South Richmond father who was walking home Tuesday night.

Thirty-three-year-old Jeffery Smith was struck while he was walking in the 4500 block of Walmsley Boulevard. [RELATED: Police ID man killed in Richmond hit and run]

Police said they are looking for a small, dark-colored vehicle, possibly a Volkswagen.

Jessica Smith describes her uncle as a doting father of a three year old boy. She said he was someone who would always think of others and someone who didn’t hesitate to help a friend.

Smith said she can’t believe when she waited on her uncle at a Southside convenience store late Tuesday, that it would be the last time she would see him alive.

Surveillance video showed Smith in the store minutes before he walked outside on Walmsley Boulevard. He was headed to his sister’s home, but just after he stepped out of camera range, he was struck and killed. And police said the driver just kept going.

Smith said she called her aunt to see if her uncle had made it home. When she said he hadn’t, Smith said she ran outside and spotted her uncle’s body. Smith said she recognized Smith’s clothes and shoes.

“We called his phone and we saw the it light up on the body of the guy that was lying on the ground and we saw the light light up in his pocket,” said Smith. “I don’t even know how to get the image out of my head.”  

Smith’s sister Kim Darden, Jessica’s mother, said the whole thing feels surreal. She said what hurts most is knowing Jeff’s 3-year-old son will have to live without his dad. And it’s also difficult to think that someone left her brother to die on the street.

“Hopefully the person will come forward and know that he was a father, son, brother…,” said Darden. “Hopefully the person will have a heart and come forward.”

If you have information that can help police crack this case, you’re urged to call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.

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