Middletown man checking mail fatally struck in hit and run

August 27, 2013 2:34:39 PM PDT
Police in Orange County are searching for a hit-and-run driver who plowed into an elderly man who was getting his mail Monday afternoon.

New York State police say 86-year-old Donald Wester was checking his mailbox on County Route 1 in Westtown, when he was struck by a small SUV.

Police say two witnesses saw a small gray or silver SUV being driven by a white female with white hair. Debris collected at the scene could be parts to a 2006-2007 silver or grey Subaru Tribeca.

The vehicle may now have damage on its passenger side.

Wester was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in critical condition, with head and spinal injuries. He passed away overnight.

For the last 10 years, Bill Hanlon has kept an eye out for his elderly neighbor. But there was nothing he or anyone could do to help Webster Monday.

"It's an accident. Accidents happen, but now you've turned it into a crime. He kept going when all he had to do was stop and help the guy," Hanlon said.

Neighbors recall a hard-working man, someone who joined the Merchant Marines at 16, and didn't retire from his job at a local hospital until age 80.

Webster's newspaper was delivered in front of his house, but his mailbox is across the street.

To retrieve his mail, he had to cross busy Route 1. In recent years, the 86-year old had slowed down, but traffic is busier than ever.

Police say the driver must have known she had hit something.

"It's 5 p.m., it wasn't dark. We're pretty certain this person intentionally left the scene," said Major Patrick Regan of the New York State Police.

State Police request that anyone with information about this incident call 845-344-5300.