SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — A hit-and-run turned deadly in Springfield after a white tractor-trailer made a turn and hit a man sitting on the curb outside the Walmart on Kansas Expressway.
Police are still searching for the driver of the semi-truck.
Todd Tennison, 51, died at the hospital two days after being hit.
“I don’t want him to just be remembered as some homeless guy that got killed on the side of the road, like he was my uncle,” his niece, Chalee Tennison, said. “No matter the circumstance of their life, nobody deserves to go through this.”
According to police, the semi was turning southbound onto Kansas Expressway when Tennison was hit.
“I just want him to be remembered by all of his qualities, like his caring personality and his loving personality,” Tennison said. “He was a hilarious guy and he always liked to mess around and joke around and just be silly.”
While the circumstances around the crash are still under investigation, Tennison says she believes her uncle was sitting at the curb panhandling.
“The city of Springfield has the pedestrian safety ordinance that prohibits being on the traffic median for an extended period of time for this exact reason, to protect the people who are trying to cross the street,” said Cris Swaters with Springfield Police.
On social media, some have speculated the truck driver might not have known they hit someone.
“I just know in my heart that there was a commotion that, ‘Oh, my gosh,’ like, ‘This guy just got hit,'” Tennison said. “I don’t want to be angry about it, but that’s kind of the feeling that I get.”
She tells OzarksFirst that her other uncle is a truck driver.
“He said that if you hit something, even if you hit a curb, you know that you hit something,” Tennison said. “Even with one wheel of your trailer, you’re going to feel it in the cab of the truck where you’re sitting.”
Moving forward, the Tennison family says they hope the driver is caught.
“Nobody deserves that and nobody deserves to just die without justice,” Tennison said.