Friends have been out all day at Interstate 49 and 155th Street, and said they plan to stay until they find out who hit their good friend and then turned the accident into a hit-and-run early Saturday morning.
The off-ramp from southbound Interstate 49 to 155th Street is a stretch of highway the friends and family of 48-year-old Robert Hays wish they could forget. But now that Hays was killed here, they say they can't stay away.
"He would have come up here and been holding this sign for me, and he would have walked a thousand miles to do it," said friend Tim Gilio.
So friends are calling on someone to speak out about who hit Hays early Saturday morning, then drove off.
"They knew what they did for sure, they knew what they did for sure," Gilio said. "I wish I could tell you how someone could do that (not stay)."
The exit ramp is busy and could be dangerous even in the light of the day. Hays was struck just before 3 a.m. A crash report said the area is unlit and very dark.
"I'm watching my surroundings, being careful where I step," said friend Dustin Jones.
But his friends are determined, scouring the sides of the ramp for pieces of car or anything to hint at who hit Hays, while he was walking to a friend's house early in the morning.
"He don't just walk in the middle of the roads, he's very smart where he walks. He does it all the time at all hours of night," Jones said.
And not only were just friends involved. Hays' daughter spent the day making a banner to hang at the intersection asking for help.
"I think that's the only way it's going to get taken care of. Nobody cares more about him than the people who loved him," said Hays' daughter, Ivy Christman.
And it was evident that a lot of people loved him, including his two young grandkids.
"He was just a really genuine, sweet guy who forgave you no matter what," Christman said.
For the loved ones left behind, there can be no forgiveness now until there's justice.
"We know that it's a light-colored vehicle, with front-end damage and broken glass. Somebody had to see that, that's parked in somebody's driveway or on the side of somebody's street," Christman said.
Friends know every car that passes by could have that answer. They are guessing the hit-and-run driver was heading home early Saturday morning, so they could live around the area. They said they're hoping to reach that person directly with their presence at the side of the highway.
The friends and family have also been driving around the area looking for signs of the light-colored car, likely small to medium-sized, with front-end damage.
They and the Kansas City police are asking anyone with information to call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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