Driver sought after 46-year-old man killed in Long Island hit and run

RONKONKOMA, Long Island (WABC) -- A pedestrian was killed in an apparent hit and run on Long Island early Friday, and authorities are searching for the driver.

Authorities say the victim, 46-year-old Christopher Grassia, was found dead in the street near Richmond Boulevard and Rosevale Avenue in Ronkonkoma around 12:20 a.m.

Grassia was walking along the busy roadway at the time. A passerby found him in a bush, and Grassia was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police believe the vehicle involved was a blue Dodge Ram pickup truck that has front-end damage as a result of the crash.

Authorities were working on a timeline, but they believe the crash occurred sometime after 7:20 p.m. Thursday.

Grassia was last seen at a BP gas station on Rosevale Avenue, according to police.

Eyewitness News obtained video from the BP gas station which shows Grassia buying some beer last night around 7:20 p.m.

Gas station worker Sukhdev Singh said Grassia often hung around the gas station asking customers for money to buy beer and food. Singh said Grassia was never aggressive with the customers. Singh said he saw Grassia last night and nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

Jennifer Olson said Grassia used to frequent the small strip of stores next to the gas station where she owns a laundromat. She said Grassia would hang out there almost everyday asking people for money.

"He would come, you know, early in the morning when I opened up," she said. "It was rough. I felt bad for the man."

Olson said Grassia loved to speak with people who worked in the stores and the customers. She said she and other business owners often worried about him during the cold weather this winter.

"We didn't know what to do for him," she said.

Maryann Grassia, Grassia's mother, said in a statement to Eyewitness News, "My son was a caring, kind and compassionate person. Little things gave him so much joy. Our hearts are broken. I do not understand how anyone could do this."

Detectives are asking anyone with information on this crash to call the Major Case Unit at 631-852-6555 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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