COVENTRY, R.I. (WPRI) — Police are working to track down a plow driver after a Coventry man was struck and killed overnight.
According to police, Matthew O’Gara was walking on Arnold Road when he was hit just before 12:30 a.m. Monday.
O’Gara, 19, was transported to Kent Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Police said they’re looking for a dark-colored pickup truck with a plow attached that’s believed to be involved in the hit-and-run. They, along with the victim’s family, urged the driver to come forward.
“How could you just leave him there?” asked the victim’s mother, Barbara O’Gara.
“It would be nice if he had enough feelings to come forward and admit he did it and turn himself in to the Coventry police,” added his father, James O’Gara.
“I’m without a heart now,” James O’Gara said. “He was the best thing in my life.”
Family and friends placed flowers in the snow bank where O’Gara was struck, along with his favorite hat and his favorite drink – Mountain Dew.
“It doesn’t feel real. He didn’t deserve this,” said O’Gara’s friend, Katie Quinlan. “He was honestly one of the best friends you could ever have. He was always there for us, no matter what.”
O’Gara was hit as he and one of his friends were walking to the store. The friend knocked on the door of a nearby home for help after the truck drove off.
“Maybe if he’d stopped, maybe the circumstances would be different,” added Quinlan. “At least we could have some peace.”
The sidewalk near where O’Gara was struck was buried under snow at the time, prompting him to walk in the street.
Town Manager Graham Waters said an ordinance does require homeowners to clear their sidewalks, but the town doesn’t have the resources to thoroughly enforce it.
The Coventry Town Council is expected to discuss the ordinance at their meeting Monday night.
As for the suspect’s vehicle, investigators have ruled out marked trucks from the town of Coventry and state Department of Transportation.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Coventry Police Department at (401) 826-1100.