PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The driver fled the scene, but it only took police about an hour and a half to track him down.
They believe the driver may have been drinking when he hit an elderly man and left him on the side of the road.
“Nicest guy in the world, would do anything for anybody,” said Jeff Caputo.
Caputo says this about the man who was hit, who is also his best friend and mentor, Byron White.
The 74-year-old has been in a wheelchair for about 10 years after suffering a stroke. But he still runs The Gun Rack on Route 136 in Rostraver.
He was leaving work around 6 p.m. Tuesday, on his way to his home next door, when he was hit by a truck.
“Mr. White took the full impact, as far as the speed, that’s been undetermined at this point,” Rostraver Police Chief Gregory Resetar said.
White was hit with such force that he was thrown from his wheelchair.
The chair was seriously damaged, a mailbox was also toppled, but the driver didn’t stop.
Police used a serial number of a piece of the Nissan Titan pickup truck that was left behind to trace it back to a 53-year-old man who lives nearby.
He is believed to have been drinking before the crash.
“Had the individual stopped and no alcohol involved, it would have been a tragedy,” Resetar said. “But as it stands now, it’s no longer considered an accident or a crash, it’s considered a crime.”
“Mad isn’t the word, I’m way past that,” Caputo said. “Rage is what I have.”
White was flown to UPMC Mercy where he remains in the ICU with nine broken ribs and a shattered hip.
“If you looked up ‘great guy’ in dictionary it would be a picture of Byron,” Caputo said.
For now, friends are manning the business while White’s wife sits at his bedside.
His dog Hogan, like many, is also hoping he will come home soon.
“Our hopes and prayers are going to him and I hope he knows we all love him and care about him and I hope everything works out for him,” Caputo said.