Family remembers man killed in suspected hit-and-run in Tulare County

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Wednesday, November 9, 2022
Family members man killed in suspected hit-and-run in Tulare County
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31-year-old Jimmy Slate Jr. was hit and killed while walking and pushing his bicycle on Avenue 144, South of Avenue 313.

TULARE COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- A South Valley family is mourning the loss of their loved one.

31-year-old Jimmy Slate Jr. was hit and killed while walking and pushing his bicycle on Avenue 144, South of Avenue 313.

The California Highway Patrol says it happened around 1 pm on Saturday.

Slate was taken to Kaweah Health Medical Center and passed away on Monday.

" Clearly something caused this, be it distracted driving or intoxicated," says California Highway Patrol Sgt. Ryan Pedersen. "We haven't determined it or maybe it's both, but a man walking in the middle of a road or off the roadway should not be struck by a motorist."

Sgt. Pedersen says after several witness statements, calls to the department and social media comments, investigators identified Shay Dejonge as a person of interest and possible suspect who left the scene.

They tracked down the vehicle in Visalia and knocked on the door to the home they believed Dejonge was in.

Officers say that's when she ran away. The Mazda was then impounded for evidence.

Pedersen says a representative for Dejonge called the department and is cooperating.

"They are cooperating in the sense that they have contacted us and they are available if and when we want to have an interview with them," he said.

Slat's family says he was homeless at the time of his death - describing him as a lost soul who was loved dearly by his family.

His sister told Action News he was raised by a single father and faced many struggles growing up and said.

"My brother did not deserve this," she said. "Thank you to those who stopped and tried helping my brother. Thank you for not leaving him alone."

Now, they're hopeful the person responsible will come forward and that justice will be served.