86-Year-Old Man Hit by Car While Checking Mailbox; Driver Flees

The elderly man was killed in the hit-and-run

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Police in Orange County are looking for the driver of a vehicle that hit and killed an 86-year-old man as he checked his mailbox in front of his upstate home Monday evening. Rob Schmitt has more. (Published Tuesday, Aug 27, 2013)

    State police say they're looking for the driver of a vehicle that hit and killed an 86-year-old man as he checked his mailbox in front of his upstate home Monday evening.

    Troopers say Donald Wester was hit by a small silver SUV while standing at his mailbox outside his home on Route 1 in the Orange County hamlet of Westtown, near the New Jersey border.
    Police say the SUV didn't stop as it headed toward state Route 284.
    "Whoever was driving the vehicle knows that they made contact with something, and they certainly didn't stay around to see what it was," a state police spokesman said in a news conference.
    Wester was flown to Westchester Medical Center, where he died of head and spinal injuries.
    Neighbors say the stretch of Route 1 where Wester was hit is dangerous, with drivers frequently speeding past the 45 mph limit.
    "If you come up on that spot, it's really hard to see. This is a 45 zone, but coming down the hill, everyone always picks up speed," said neighbor Jaimie Vellenga.
    Bill Hanlon said traffic has been getting heavier on the road and "nobody's doing 45." 
    Wester lived in the area for most of his life, neighbors said. He had children, but lived alone and took pride in maintaining his 5-acre property.
    "Don is just the kind of neighbor everybody wants to have," said Hanlon.  
    State police believe the driver may have been a woman with long hair. The vehicle, a gray SUV -- likely a 2006-2007 Subaru Tribeca -- lost a mirror. Anyone with information is asked to call 845-344-5300.

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