‘Everyone wanted to be his friend’: Teacher killed in hit-and-run leaves wife, 10 children behind

Published: Aug. 28, 2022 at 3:26 PM CDT
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) -- Family and friends have identified a man who was killed after a vehicle struck him while he was riding his bike Saturday morning.

Charles Criniere was heading southbound on his bike on View High Drive when it was struck by an unknown vehicle that was also traveling southbound on View High Drive.

According to a GoFundMe page set up to assist Criniere’s family, he leaves a wife and 10 children behind.

He was also a teacher at Martin City Middle School in the Grandview School District.

“He was someone...everybody wanted to be his friend,” says Athol Barnes, the Senior Pastor of Grace Point Baptist Church.

Barnes could only think of good things to describe fellow congregation member Charles Criniere.

“I’m going to miss just the long talks that we would have where he would literally make you feel loved,” says Barnes.

Police say the vehicle that struck the bicyclist did not stop and fled the scene in an unknown direction. On Monday, the police said the vehicle is a white 2017-2020 Acura MDX with damage to the right, front passenger side and grill area.

“As crazy as that sounds to just be praying for that guy or girl, whoever it was, that they would just feel remorse and conviction, turn themselves in, do the right thing,” says Ken DeBenedictis, Criniere’s neighbor and friend.

Friends are hoping the community can come together and help the family during this tough time.

“They were living off a teacher’s salary, 10 kids and they always gave, and I would look at him and be like how, how are they giving so much. That’s their heart is to give to people so, that fact that we can give back to them is like the least we can do for this family,” said Ken DeBenedictis’ wife.

A father, a husband, a teacher, a father figure to many and an inspiration that those who knew him will continue to love and speak highly of.

So far, the GoFundMe has raised over $95,000 for the family.