Van driver sought in fatal hit-and-run

By James Mitchell
Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE – Police are looking for the driver of a blue van that was seen leaving the scene of a fatal collision after hitting a pedestrian on North Line Road Jan. 31.

Public Safety Director Thomas Coombs said witnesses described a motorist who continued without slowing down after striking 39-year-old Frank King about 11 p.m. Jan. 31.

According to police reports, King was crossing North Line south, just east of Allen Road. when he was hit by an older model blue van believed to be a Chevrolet Astro. The impact sent King to the south side of the road, and witnesses at a gas station and fast-food restaurants said the van continued east without stopping.

Reportedly, witnesses flagged down an ambulance in McDonald’s parking lot. Medical attention was given quickly, but King was pronounced dead upon arrival at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.

Coombs said investigators are reviewing state records for Chevy Astro vans in the area, and said the vehicle likely sustained damage to the front passenger side. Detectives also are reviewing any surveillance or security footage that might be available from the local businesses or Michigan Department of Transportation.

“We don’t know whether they’re scared or had a suspended license or whatever,” Coombs said of the driver leaving the scene. “We can come up with reasons but none are good enough.”

The family has offered a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the responsible driver. Coombs said anyone with information or who knows of suspect vehicles should contact Southgate Police at 734-258-3060.

(James Mitchell can be reached at