ISLAND PARK, Long Island (WABC) -- A 30-year-old man was struck and killed in a hit and run on Long Island Monday night, and now, his grieving wife is left looking for answers.
It happened just after 9 p.m. on Long Beach Road, near Marina Place, in Island Park.
Police say the victim, Dodanim Emanuel Chavez, was struck by a vehicle traveling southbound on Long Beach Road and suffered severe trauma.
The driver fled the scene, and Chavez was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
"When I got here, I found him dead on the ground," wife Laura Chavez said. "Now getting to the house and he's not around. I can't call him anymore. I can't text him anymore. I don't know what to do."
Chavez was in the middle of moving from his home on Long Beach Road to a new one down the street.
"We just built the other house," Laura said. "He's not here to enjoy the house with the family."
His wife said he had just finished packing the car and was walked around to get in when witnesses say an erratic white Dodge minivan struck him.
Their 16-year-old stepson, Erick Cisneros, was flagged down by Chavez's mother-in-law.
"My grandma, she was limping over to me half crying," he said. "And she said, 'He's dead,' and I was like, 'What?' So I ran over here and I saw the body on the ground. I saw the blood running across the floor. I saw his body, and I was in shock, and I ran to get my mom."
Born in El Salvador and later moving to the United States, Chavez is survived by his wife, a 3-year-old daughter named Emma, and two stepchildren.
"He's never going to see her grow, and she's not going to see her father, she was so close to him," Laura said. "He was a person, anybody needed him, he was there for them."
Those same sentiments shared by Chavez's coworker, Eugene Small. who worked with him as a mechanic in Oceanside at Sunny's Transmission Auto Shop.
"I taught him a lot, and he knew a lot and he was always willing to learn, always willing to grow," he said. "There wasn't anything bad about him at all, nothing. There was nothing bad about Manuel."
As Chavez's wife begins to grieve, she has a message for her husband's killer.
"To turn himself in, because he doesn't have a heart," she said. "How could you hit somebody and just leave them on the ground?"
The investigation is ongoing.
Detective request anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS.
All callers will remain anonymous.
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