A driver struck and killed a man who was jogging in Sutton, Massachusetts, Wednesday morning, according to witnesses and police. Authorities are searching for a white SUV with damage on the passenger side.
The hit-and-run took place on Singletary Avenue, leaving a 51-year-old man from neighboring Millbury, Daniel De Lima, dead in a yard, according to the Sutton Police Department. Police were called about 8:15 a.m. when the homeowner found the jogger on her front lawn.
"We believe it's unconscionable that the person who struck this individual knew that they struck them," said Sutton Police Chief Dennis Towle while urging the driver to turn themselves in.
"I feel really bad for the guy," said Wilfred Tremblay, whose wife found the body in his yard. "It's unconscionable that somebody wouldn't stop. I don't care if I was drunk, I'd stop."
While police didn't give much information about what took place in the crash, neighbors believe the jogger may have been dead for more than an hour before his body was found.
The crash left plastic and glass debris all over the road, and Tremblay said it may have knocked the runner about 100 feet through the air. Among the debris his wife found Wednesday morning was a sock in their driveway, he said.
"Whoever did this definitely knew that they hit something or somebody and they just kept right on going," Tremblay said.
"He is the most wonderful person we know," De Lima's family said in a statement. "He was very loved and will be missed by many."
Family members added that jogging was one of De Lima's favorite activities.
"He left us doing what he loves," the statement read.
"He used to say that running saved his life, and this past winter, he finally got to complete his dream, which was running in Paris, the marathon in Paris," said Eduardo Pires, a longtime family friend.
Neighbor Tabitha Faucher's security camera caught a person running by her home down the street in Millbury around 6:20 a.m. heading toward where the crash took place. The footage showed several vehicles.
"I don't get how you could leave someone in the middle of the street," she said. "What if it was your father or one of your family members?"
Police said they were focusing on identifying a white SUV with "damage that is consistent with striking something on the passenger side of the vehicle."
The Worcester County District Attorney's Office is investigating the death as well, along with the Central Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council's reconstruction unit, according to police.