A York man was found dead lying in the middle of a residential street after a hit-and-run accident Saturday, York Police Chief Andy Robinson said in a release.
William Hayes, 50, of New Street died sometime Saturday morning after a vehicle apparently hit him and sped off, leaving him to die not far from his home.
Authorities discovered Hayes’ body after 4:48 a.m. when they received a 911 call, reporting a body lying in the road on New Street between Hill and Congress streets. EMS responded and pronounced Hayes dead.
York County's forensics unit and coroner’s office also responded with forensics investigators collecting evidence left at the scene by a vehicle that struck Hayes.
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York Police Chief Andy Robinson said the incident is under investigation and police are asking for anyone with leads to call police or give an anonymous tip.
On Saturday neighbors and family grieved the loss of a friend and good man known for his cheer, helping others, and working hard.
Several gathered at the residence of Denise Hayes, William’s sister, on California Street, just a short walk through the woods to New Street.
Around 3 a.m. Hayes left her residence, and likely cut through the woods between California and New streets, a popular path he often used, Denise said. “He had a pocket full of peaches” he was eating, she said.
They recalled many fond memories of Hayes, such as the way he loved to dance.
“He didn’t care if he danced with anybody, or if he danced by himself,” said Joyce Thompson, whose husband is related to Hayes.
Hayes’ sister Rolinda Hayes said the last time she saw Hayes they had eaten breakfast together. Later he came by and asked about her lawnmower which she couldn’t get to crank.
Before he left she remembers him saying, “I might put my shoes on and jog a little bit.”
A good man
Hayes worked for McNeely Brothers Painting in York for ten or fifteen years at least, said Steve McNeely, who owns the business.
“He was a good worker. He’s going to be missed. It’s sad his life ended the way it did,” he said.
McNeely said Hayes spent a lot of time working for him and got to know his family, and his grandchildren came to know Hayes affectionately as “Willy Wonka.”
“Our family is going to miss him,” McNeely said., who
Darvin and Susie Osborne, who have been Hayes’ neighbors for many years, said he was a real good friend who helped around their home and even insisted on fixing his lawnmower for free.
The Osbornes pointed out Saturday where Hayes was hit, not far from where the path from California Street intersects with New Street and not far from where a streetlamp illuminates the street at night, they said.
They said cars tend to speed down the narrow street. That’s a problem especially when youth are playing basketball at the courts across the street from Hayes’ house, the Osbornes said.
Family and neighbors were struggling to understand how the incident happened. They were also shocked at how anyone could have hit Hayes and left him.
People always stop when they hit dogs or deer or even possums, they said. With lights on both sides of where he was found, they couldn’t understand how anyone didn’t see him.
Whoever hit him has “no compassion or conscience,” Thompson said.
“You wouldn’t do a dog like that,” Rolinda Hayes said.
Hayes’ niece Monica Hayes shares her uncle’s birthday. They always celebrated together, but the day will be different from now on, she said.
“I won’t get to hear that joking around and telling me I’m pretty. I won’t get to hear that,” she said, adding she wants whoever is responsible to come forward.
“Maybe it was an accident, but just come forward,” she said.
“Everybody wants closure,” Thompson said. “Come forward and admit what you’ve done.”
Police ask anyone with information about this incident to contact the York Police Department at 803-684-4141, Crime Stoppers at 1-877-409-4321, or www.tipsubmit.com to leave an anonymous tip.