Local News

Mom searches for answers in son's fatal hit-and-run

Posted August 3, 2014
Updated August 4, 2014

— A year after the hit-and-run death of Dwight Smith Jr., Raleigh police still have no leads in the 26-year-old’s death.

But his mother, Sharon Hartsfield, hasn’t given up.

She, along with Raleigh officers on Sunday, returned to the area on Pettigrew Street where Smith’s body was found in hopes of finding some answers.

Smith, who was last seen at a nearby party, later died at the WakeMed.

Investigators believe he was lying in the road when he was hit.

“I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy,” Hartsfield said. “There's no way you're at a party and no one knows what happened.”

Officers handed out fliers during an information checkpoint. Community involvement is key in such cases, said Raleigh officer Chris Bradford, who added that it really helps when the victim’s family is present.

“The families usually have a connection to the community, which helps the community to be more involved,” he said.

As officers distributed information to motorists, Hartsfield and other family and friends lit candles, sang prayers and shed tears during a vigil.

“It’s just not been easy,” she said. “I wouldn’t wish it on nobody. But that’s why I’m asking for the community’s help because this could be your child.”

16 Comments

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  • MrX-- Aug 4, 2014

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    It is also quite possible that someone innocently hit a guy laying in the street and has no idea that it happened.

  • Sherrill Craig Aug 4, 2014

    unfortunately, the "no snitching" policy held by some people is VERY pervasive...

  • Grand Union Aug 4, 2014

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    Relevence? Do you think it matters who the victim is in a hit and run? The offense is not stopping after the accident not that the guy may have contributed in some way to what happened. If the driver was DUI then its very likely that was a major factor in the accident.
    Its possible that it wasn't an accident at all.....hence thats why we need to know who was driving. Unless of course you think that its OK to kill someone just because they have a record?

  • MrX-- Aug 4, 2014

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    I thought it might be one of the people he was in a fight with but I doubt that since someone would have said something to somebody and the police would have eventually gotten wind of it. My guess is that whoever hit the guy has no idea that they did and therefore never be heard from.

  • MrX-- Aug 4, 2014

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    Looked up his name and it seems he had a few run ins with the law and did some time. His last offense was DWI. Could be a guy with the same name though.

  • Alexia Proper Aug 4, 2014

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    I can almost assuredly tell you that if I ran over somebody across the lower abdomen who was thin in by truck, it would not feel much different than some of the potholes in the road. My truck is heavy, so the truck would literally just squash the body like a paper cup. And there is enough clearance that no part of the body would get snagged.

    But to your point, it might have been one of the other upstanding party-goers.

  • jwsawyer Aug 4, 2014

    No concern as to why this young man was fighting at a party in a crack infested area? No concern as to why this young man was laying the middle of a busy city street after dark? Someone might have run him over and not even known it. Who hit him seems to be a minor issue. What kind of life was this 26 year old man involved in?

    My question - did this guy start behaving like this after he turned 18? It is rare for someone to end up like this when the parents were fully engaged with their upbringing. The mom needs to search within herself for how she wants to live the rest of her life.

  • Grand Union Aug 4, 2014

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    How do you know that? Perhaps the driver was drunk and had they been sober they would have avoided the guy in the road.
    The fact that no one has ever come forward would make that more likely than not. And really, few potholes come anyplace close to the size of a near adult male and they go down not up. I can understand hitting someone lying in the street but not realising it was much more than a pot hole is unlikely.

  • T-ONE Aug 4, 2014

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    Wow! Just get up the next morning and wash off the blood and other evidence. We are talking about a human being not an animal.

  • Mariann Byknish Aug 4, 2014

    What kind of "party" ? Were there drugs, alcohol, etc going on? Were there drugs/alcohol in his system? If the answer is yes to any of the above, he should have stayed at home. Sorry for your loss, sometimes we don't get answers for all of our questions.

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