No arrests in hit-skip at vigil

YOUNGSTOWN – City police said there is no indication that Friday’s hit-and-run accident that sent five men to area hospitals is related to a hit-skip earlier this month that left a man dead on the city’s South Side.

Investigators said they located a 1997 white Pontiac Sunfire they believe was the vehicle involved in the Friday evening hit-skip and towed it as evidence.

Police found it after being tipped off about a damaged vehicle at an address on Canfield Road. Investigators said they spoke to several people at that residence and determined the automobile might be the one involved in that hit-skip. However, no arrests have been made.

Around 6:30 p.m. Friday, family members of hit-skip victim Robert Brown Jr. were holding a vigil in his honor at the site of the accident that killed him on West Hylda Avenue. Witnesses reported seeing a Pontiac Sunfire traveling east on Hylda Avenue during the vigil. The vehicle, which did not have any headlights on, struck five pedestrians on the street who had been gathered for the vigil.

The driver fled the area heading toward Market Street, according to police reports.

Later that night, police were called to Brandywine Apartment Complex on Canfield Road in Youngstown. After interviewing several individuals at a residence there, police towed the vehicle in question.

Youngstown Police Detective Sgt. Patricia Garcar said police have leads they are pursuing.

“We have a couple of people of interest we’ve talked to,” she said. “But other than location we don’t really have any evidence that links the incidents.”

Police said 10 people have been struck by a vehicle in the past two weeks in the city.

Three of the five victims of the Friday hit-skip have been released from St. Elizabeth Health Center, and another victim was expected to be released by today. The most seriously injured victim, Tyler Austin, 19, remained in critical condition on Monday, police confirmed.

The other four injured men were Hector Tejda, 19, of Youngstown; Ricardo Reyes, 19, of Campbell; Chester Mitchell, 19, of Youngstown; and Felix Rodriguez, 21, of Youngstown.

Meanwhile, police remained busy investigating other weekend accidents in the city – one on Saturday and the other on Sunday.

On Saturday, Patrick Bolger Jr., 31, no address available, was critically injured when he was hit by a car while riding a bike on Midlothian Boulevard. It is not clear whether the driver involved will face any charges. Police said witnesses reported Bolger had been weaving in and out of traffic.

Joseph Hunter, no age or address available, remained in critical condition at St. Elizabeth Health Center Monday after being hit by a car operated by Verna-Jean Wyse on Sunday as he was walking in the road on Sunnybrooke Drive near Canfield Road in Youngstown around 7 p.m. Police said Hunter was wearing dark clothing. The road was closed to traffic for a short time as accident reconstruction teams were on the scene.

Garcar said it has not been determined whether Wyse will be charged but it is unlikely.

Anyone with any information on these incidents is asked to call Youngstown Police Department at 330-747-7911 or 330-746-CLUE.