UPDATE: Family seeks help to identify suspect in fatal hit-and-run

Published on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 08:51 - Written by BY FAITH HARPER, fharper@tylerpaper.com

Tyler businessman Steve Farmer, 35, was headed home from a long day Monday in the Metroplex when he saw cars parked in the middle of North-Northwest Loop 323 and Van Highway.

According to police, a man, identified as 23-year-old Kenneth Linnel Jones Jr., of Tyler, was struck by at least two cars about 10:30 p.m. while trying to cross the loop. He died at the scene.

Farmer said he parked his car in the turn lane on Van Highway and ran to help but was shocked to see people standing on the side of the road watching.

“It’s kind of messed up,” he said. “I never had anything like that happen, but I reacted. I didn’t think about it and ran over there and started helping while all these people were watching.”

Don Martin, spokesman for the Tyler Police Department, said the accident was the second pedestrian struck in a week, and residents should be cautious while crossing roadways.

Legally, a person on foot should cross at a marked traffic signal unless one is not available or nearby. He said within the city limits, it is safer to always cross roads at major intersections.

“He wasn’t far from the traffic light, and had he gone to the traffic light and waited (there) to cross, he would be alive today,” Martin said. “People need to follow what the law says when they cross the highway.”

The vehicle that struck Jones did not stop and continued south down the loop. Leaving the scene constitutes a second-degree felony. Police are asking anyone with information on the vehicle or its driver to call the Tyler Police Department at 903-531-1000, or Crimestoppers at 903-597-CUFF (903-597-2833).

Farmer said he was deeply disturbed by the scene and was considering starting a campaign.

“There have been so many pedestrians and bicyclists hit by cars because people drive too fast in this town,” he said. “People need to slow down in this town. They are driving ridiculously fast, and innocent people are getting killed for no reason.”