Youngstown police, family, looking to community for info on deadly hit-and-run

Local News

The crash happened this weekend at McGuffey Road and Cassius Avenue

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) — Standing just yards away from where his father’s lifeless body was flung from a car late Friday on North Garland Avenue, Bert Pritchard Jr. said his father was a tough man who was also gentle.

Pritchard, along with an aunt, an uncle and a friend of his father’s, stood in the street where his father ended up after police said he was hit about 10 p.m. Friday at McGuffey Road and Cassius Avenue, then dragged about 900 feet before he was left in the middle of North Garland Avenue.

A neighbor discovered Bert Pritchard Sr., 59, when they put their dog out and called police.

Family members followed up a press conference asking for any information on the death of the elder Pritchard, an East Side native who family members said was a fixture in the neighborhood.

“Everybody knew him,” his sister, Loretta Pritchard, said.

Before family members visited the site where the elder Pritchard was killed, Lt. William Ross of the police department’s Traffic Unit held a press conference asking for help from the public.

Ross said police have some leads, but he would not say what they are. He asked for any information, especially if a person was an eyewitness, to come forward.

He also said police are not yet sure of the time that elapsed between the time Pritchard was hit and when he was found.

When family and friends found out Saturday morning Pritchard had died, they went to the spot where his body was found. Police had marked the path he had been dragged from McGuffey and Cassius with orange paint leading to a circle painted on the street where he was found.

About 10 feet away from Pritchard was the Pittsburgh Steelers facemask he wore. Family members also had his keys, which were in his pocket, and which also show evidence of being scraped against a hard surface.

Pritchard was an East High School graduate who worked at Gasser Chair Co. before leaving on disability. Family members speculated he was walking to a store at McGuffey Road and Albert Street when he was hit. It was not uncommon for him to walk to the store, they said.

What was as shocking as his death was the fact he was just left in the road and no one called 911, family and friends said. Bernard Pritchard, his brother, called it “evil.” Pritchard’s son also said it was evil.

“There’s just so many words going through my mind,” he said. “I don’t see how a person can do that.”

Bernard Pritchard is the same age as his brother and said they were like “twins.” Pritchard just had a birthday, Bernard said.

“I’m at a loss for words,” he said. “I lost my best friend. My brother. It hurts very bad.”

Pritchard’s son said his father was a tough person who would always tell someone how things were rather than sugar coating any situation. He was also an avid fisherman and enjoyed his family, he said.

“He wasn’t the best but he’s far from the worst,” Pritchard’s son said. “He never put his hands on me. All he had to do was say my name and look at me.”

Anyone with information should call the police department’s tip line at 330-742-8YPD or CrimeStoppers Youngstown at 330-746-CLUE. Callers can remain anonymous and they may be eligible for a reward they family is offering, Ross said.

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Mel Robbins Main Area Middle

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