Vigil for Hit-and-Run Victim; Search Continues for Driver

A vigil held for jogger killed in hit-and-run

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    Family members of a Haslet man killed early Thursday morning in a hit-and-run say they want the driver to come forward. (Published Friday, June 22, 2012)

    Family members of a Haslet man killed early Thursday morning in a hit-and-run say they want the driver to come forward.

    Walter Hopkins, 37, was fatally struck on Willow Springs Road while jogging. The driver of the pickup truck did not stop to help him.

    Hopkins Family Said He Died Doing What He Loved: Running

    [DFW] Hopkins Family Said He Died Doing What He Loved: Running
    Police are still looking for the hit and run driver who ran Walter Hopkins down while he was jogging in near Haslet. (Published Friday, June 22, 2012)

    "Everyone's just in shock," said Richard Massey, the victim's brother-in-law.

    The family said it is not angry at the driver but wants answers.

    Search for Hit-and-Run Driver Continues

    [DFW] Search for Hit-and-Run Driver Continues
    Walter Hopkins, 37, was hit from behind while jogging on Willow Springs Road, near Haslet, before 6 a.m. Thursday. Tarrant County deputies continue to search for the driver who did not stop after hitting Hopkins. (Published Friday, June 22, 2012)

    "We don't know the sex of the driver, how old he or she may be," Massey said. "We are not passing judgment. We're not foaming at the mouth, wanting whoever did this to be punished. Our focus is on Buddy and his family. The kids were the apple of his eye. His wife was his best friend in the whole world."

    Massey said Hopkins, who the family called "Buddy," was killed doing what he loved -- running.

    "He ran every day at 5 a.m. He knew the route and lived in this neighborhood. There's no way to imagine something like this would happen," he said.

    Members of the close-knit Sendera Ranch community are devastated by Hopkin's death. They held a vigil at 7 p.m. Friday at the amenity pool at Austin Stone and Avondale-Haslet Road.

    The Tarrant County Sheriff's Office said it is working on several leads in the case.

    Deputies impounded a blue Ford Ranger pickup truck found at a Fort Worth body shop on Thursday.

    Sheriff's office spokesman Terry Grisham said investigators are confident they have the right truck. A search warrant for the truck was obtained Friday morning after the owner was uncooperative, he said.

    Deputies said evidence found on the truck matched the evidence found at the scene.

    Grisham said investigators are still determining who was driving the truck at the time of the hit-and-run. He said investigators would also like to speak to the person who left the truck at the body shop.

    Grisham declined to say how authorities found the truck, other than to say that other agencies assisted in tracking it down.

    The driver could face charges from failure to stop and render aid to vehicular homicide.

    The Tarrant County Sheriff's Office said the driver swerved over two lanes, hit Hopkins and took off. A passer-by spotted Hopkins lying on the side of the two-lane road.

    Deputies said Hopkins ran against traffic so he could see the dangers ahead. Investigators said they believe he was hit from behind.

    People who live near the site of the hit-and-run said they hope deputies step up patrols in the area to slow down speeders.

    "What about speed bumps again?" Jeff Molenburg said. "Those things have been brought up from time to time. What about stop signs? And I think the county would do good to examine the traffic count out here."

    Willow Springs Road also does not have sidewalks.

    Deputies are asking anyone with information about the case to call the Tarrant County Sheriff's Office.

    NBC 5's Chris Van Horne contributed to this report.