THE FAMILY of Christopher Colegate who died after a hit and run in Poole have appealed for the driver to contact Dorset Police.
The 69-year-old was struck by an unknown vehicle at approximately 7:30pm on Friday 13 December at the junction of Darby’s Lane and Heath Avenue in Oakdale.
Mr Colegate was taken to Poole Hospital with serious injuries and later died.
Reading from a family statement, Mr Colegate’s daughter Rachel Motton said: “Words cannot convey how our family is feeling since the events of last Friday night. An innocent husband, dad and grandpa – Chris Colegate – was taken from us in such a horrific way.
“Last Friday, dad was making his way to the Conservative club. It’s a walk he has made on a regular basis. We now know that before reaching the club, he was knocked down by a car and left dying in the road.
“The collision itself may well have been a genuine accident but we are all struggling to come to terms with the fact that the driver of that car did not stop following the collision.
“The driver could have gone to his aid, could have called for help but instead, thought only of themselves and selfishly fled the scene.”
Mr Colegate was frail and used two walking sticks to aid his mobility and walked with a distinctive stoop.
Police Sergeant Stuart Pitman from Dorset Police’s Traffic Unit said: “I am still keen to speak to the drivers of three vehicles that were seen in the area at the time of the collision.
“A silver family sized saloon/hatchback car travelling in Darby’s Lane towards Johnston Road, a Honda Civic type vehicle travelling from Darby’s Lane into Popes Road and a medium sized light-coloured family car which travelled along Heath Avenue towards Wimborne Road at speed.”
“I urge these drivers to please come forward so we can eliminate you from the investigation. I would also like to trace a male pedestrian walking along Darby’s Lane towards Johnston Road who passed Mr Colegate shortly before the collision. The pedestrian was wearing a grey hooded top with the hood up.
“Finally I urge the driver involved in this road traffic collision – please find it in your heart to come forward, particularly for the family at this time of year. The net is closing in, we will find you. Do the right thing and call Dorset Police.”
The Crimestoppers charity has offered a reward of up to £1,000 for information that leads to the arrest or charge of an offender. Those eligible for the cash reward should call 0800 555 111.
A small city car that travelled along Heath Avenue and turned into Darby’s Corner has been traced by investigators.
Mr Colegate’s daughter Tash Motton added: “We were really looking forward to Christmas. It should have been a happy end to what has already been a difficult year for the family.
“Now without dad, there will be an empty chair around the table on Christmas Day and unopened presents under the tree. We now live with the knowledge that every Christmas is going to be a reminder of this tragic incident. The ache in our hearts will never go away.
“If you were the driver, or you know who the driver was, please, please have the courage and decency to come forward and contact the police. It won’t bring dad back but it would give us a small crumb of comfort and help us come to terms with what has happened.”