RICHMOND HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – A promising young man’s life was cut short by a hit and run driver who callously left him lying in the street where he passed away.

Dawit Bekele was crossing Highland Road in Richmond Heights near Trebisky on July 5 when he was struck by the speeding car.

Good Samaritans stayed with him until EMTs arrived, but the injuries were too severe.

“It’s like literally having a piece of your heart torn out,” said Dawit’s sister-in-law, Deidra Bekele.

The family immigrated from Ethiopia. Dawit’s father is employed by NASA and Dawit was just starting to build his own life.

“He was such an amazing person. He had two jobs, he had two engineering degrees and he wanted to eventually meet the right person and start a family,” said Deidra.

Now, all the family wants is for the driver to be caught.

“This person who did this had to have said something to somebody,” said Bekele, “I hope and pray God will put that conviction on someone’s heart to be willing to send an anonymous tip so there would be a way to bring closure to our family.”

In the months since the accident, Richmond Heights police have been scouring surveillance video and recovered car parts from the scene that appear to be from a Chevy Malibu between the years 2008 and 2012.

It would have extensive damage to the front hood and windshield.

Police say perhaps neighbors or auto body shops recall seeing it. 

“You know, come and talk to us. You can remain anonymous,” said Lt. Denise DeBiase. “Just think about the family of Dawit and how they’re feeling and if this was your family member, what would you do and what would you want reported to the police?” 

A $5,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

If you have information to share, please contact the Richmond Heights Police Department at 216-486-1234 or the RHPD detective bureau at 216-383-6309.