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5 hurt in hit-and-run

Published: Sat, February 9, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Witness thinks act was ‘on purpose’

Five people were injured when a white Pontiac Sunfire with its headlights off drove into people assembling for a vigil on West Hylda Street at 6:30 p.m. Friday and sped away.

Five injured by hit and run driver at Youngstown vigil

By Ed Runyan



Five people were injured when a white Pontiac Sunfire with its headlights off drove into people assembling for a vigil on West Hylda Avenue at 6:30 p.m. Friday and sped away, police and witnesses said.

Youngstown police said they had made no arrests as of 11 p.m. but were following “the leads they have” and had not been notified that any of the victims had died.

The vigil was for Robert Brown, 23, of Youngstown, who was killed in a hit-and-run near there late last Saturday as he was walking to his car on the South Side.

The vigil was about to begin in the parking lot of a former post office on Hylda, said Marva Barnes, a witness.

Barnes, of Youngstown, said she was getting ready to get out of her car to attend the vigil when she saw the Sunfire “zooming down the street and it hit somebody and I heard somebody scream.”

The car then started backing toward her, so she shut the door, and the Sunfire hit her car, then went forward again and tried to hit somebody but missed, she said.

The last she saw of the Sunfire, it turned right onto Market Street heading south.

She saw only four people injured — two men who weren’t moving and two people who were talking, she said.

Because the headlights were off, the way the person was driving and because of the 6:30 timing, Barnes said she thinks the act was planned.

“They turned the headlights off to go through, so I feel like they did it on purpose,” Barnes said.

The vigil was in the newspaper and on Facebook, so it’s possible the driver showed up at that time to disrupt the vigil, Barnes said.

As for why someone would want to do that, “There’s some sick people in Youngstown,” she said.

She estimated that about 50 people were there for the vigil, which had not yet started. News cameras were there to film the vigil and captured some of the incident on film.

Barnes said she was at the vigil because Brown was a friend of hers.

Brown had left Duka’s Bar on Hylda with a friend, and a car traveling down Hylda at a high rate of speed hit Brown and continued without stopping.

He died at St. Elizabeth Health Center.

Police have continued to investigate the incident but had not made any arrests.

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