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19-year-old pedestrian killed in Southside hit-and-run

11:17 PM, Jan 12, 2014   |    comments
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  • Christopher McDowell, 19. Photo provided by family.
    

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Florida Highway Patrol investigators are searching for the driver who hit and killed a 19-year-old on the Southside.

FHP says a Jacksonville Sheriff's Officer on patrol found the body of Christopher McDowell, 19, on the side of the road on St. Johns Bluff Road Saturday at 3:30 a.m.

The teen's aunt, uncle, and younger brother are asking the public to help find the driver.

"This thing of hitting people and taking off that's inhuman," said George Gillis, the victim's uncle.

The Gillis' say they have been looking after their nephew since his mother passed away from a brain aneurysm in 2006, but on Saturday morning they faced another tragedy.

"I mean it just floored me. I had to sit down real quick, I had to sit down on the sofa," said Gillis as he described how he felt after an officer knocked on his door and informed him that his nephew was killed. 

McDowell had just moved out of his aunt and uncle's house Friday. The family says he was accepted into FSCJ and wanted to become independent by moving out on his own into the InTown Suites Extended Stay Living on St. Johns Bluff Road. 

Florida Highway Patrol investigators believe McDowell was walking back to the suites from the Kangaroo Gas station on the same street when he was hit near Lost Pine Drive.

"They need to come forward and just say, I did it but I didn't mean to do it. And I don't think anyone meant to do it," said Gillis.

The family says McDowell was a quiet teen and kept to himself. His 16-year-old brother Michael says they used to play video games and buy shoes together.

"We just overall enjoyed being with each other," said Michael.

McDowell had just graduated from Jean Ribault High School last June and hoped to become an engineer. Friends on twitter have been giving their support and condolences.

Florida Highway Patrol say the vehicle involved may be an SUV or Pick-up truck that is gray metallic or silver metallic. It should have damage in the front right area. 

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS. 


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